May 21, 2018  
2016-2017 Undergraduate Catalog 
    
2016-2017 Undergraduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

INST 3520 - The Garden of Eden

Hours: 4
What is this Garden? For millions of years the world existed before we - Homo sapiens - appeared on the scene. When we did appear, our continuing existence was not assured. Our principle tools of survival, the brain and the thumb, gave us the ability not only to adapt to nature’s harsh demands, but also to intervene in nature’s processes to make them more hospitable to our existence. The Garden of Eden is not just the world we inherited as creatures of nature, but also the world we have made by virtue of our powers of thought and action. What kind of a Garden have we made? What kind can we make? The course provides a rich assortment of readings derived from literature, philosophy, psychology, religion, history, and sociology as resources for developing responses to these questions. Students are encouraged to think critically about the Garden of Eden they inhabit and wish to inhabit. A motto for the course comes from Voltaire’s Candide: “Il faut cultiver nortre jardin” - We must cultivate our garden.