Archived syllabi from all my courses are available here

The Human Event (HON 171/272)

A humanistic examination of great ideas and works of literature, philosophy and science from earliest times to approximately 1600CE (HON 171) and beyond (HON 272). A Socratic discussion seminar that also teaches argumentative writing. Usually offered in Fall (HON 171) and Spring (HON 272).

Representative HON 171 Texts

  • Aeschylus, Oresteia
  • Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound
  • Aristotle, Poetics [p]
  • Aristotle, Nicomachaen Ethics
  • Augustine, Confessions [p]
  • Aquinas, Summa Theologica [p]
  • Aristophanes, Clouds
  • Aristophanes, Frogs
  • Aristophanes, Lysistrata
  • Bagavad Gita
  • Beowulf
  • Boccachio, Decameron [p]
  • Boethius, Consolation of Philosophy
  • Buddhist texts [various]
  • Cattulus [p]
  • Cicero, On the Nature of the Gods
  • Cicero, On Duties [p]
  • Cicero, On Friendship
  • Cicero, Dream of Scipio
  • Confucius, Analects
  • Dante, Inferno
  • De Las Casas, Destruction of the Indies
  • De Tormes, The Tale of Lazarillo de Tormes
  • De Vega, Fuenteovejuna [p]
  • The Dhammapada
  • Ecclesiastes
  • Enuma Elish
  • Erasmus, Praise of Folly
  • Euripides, Bacchae
  • Euripides, Medea
  • Galileo, Letter to the Grand Duchess
  • Genesis / Bereshit
  • Gilgamesh
  • Herodotus, Histories [p]
  • Hesiod, Works & Days
  • Hesiod, Theogony
  • Homer, Iliad
  • The Book of Job
  • Kano No Chōmei, “An Account of a Ten-Foot-Square Hut”
  • Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching
  • Lucretius, The Nature of Things
  • Machiavelli, The Prince
  • Milton, Paradise Lost [p]
  • Montaigne, Essays [p]
  • Motokyio, Atsumori
  • Mozi [p]
  • Murasaki, Tale of Genji [p]
  • New Testament [p]
  • Ovid, Metamorphoses [p]
  • Pico, Oration on the Dignity of Man
  • Plato, Apology
  • Plato, Crito
  • Plato, Euthyphro
  • Plato, Meno [p]
  • Plato, Phaedo [p]
  • Plato, Timaeus
  • Plato, Republic
  • Plato, Symposium
  • Pre-Socratic philosophers
  • Sappho [p]
  • Shakespeare, King Lear
  • Shakespeare, Julius Caesar
  • Shakespeare, Hamlet
  • Shikibu, Tale of Genji [p]
  • Sima Qian [p]
  • Sophocles, Oedipus Tyrannus
  • Sophocles, Antigone
  • Sophocles, Philoctetes
  • Sunjata
  • Sun T’zu, Art of War
  • Tain Bo Cualigne
  • Tale of the Heike [p]
  • Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War [p]
  • Virgil, Aeneid [p]
  • Xunzi [p]
  • Zhuangzi, The Inner Chapters [p]

Representative HON 272 Texts

  • Achebe, Things Fall Apart
  • Achebe, “Girls at War”
  • Adiche, “On Monday of Last Week”
  • Anouih, Antigone
  • Arendt, Eichmann in Jerusalem [p]
  • Bacon, Novum Organon
  • Bakunin, Anarchism [p]
  • Baldwin, “Sonny’s Blues”
  • Beaumarchais, The Marriage of Figaro
  • Bettelheim, Behavior in Extreme Situations [p]
  • Brecht, Galileo
  • Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France [p]
  • Byatt, Morpho Eugenia
  • Camus, “The Guest”
  • Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus [p]
  • Camus, The Stranger
  • Cather, “Paul’s Case”
  • Condorcet, The Progress of the Human Mind [p]
  • Dali Lama, The Universe in a Single Atom
  • Darwin, Origin of Species
  • Darwin, Descent of Man [p]
  • Dawkins, The Selfish Gene
  • Dennett, Darwin’s Dangerous Idea
  • De Beauvoir, The Second Sex [p]
  • Descartes, Discourse on Method
  • Descartes, Mediations on the First Philosophy
  • De Tocqueville, Democracy in America [p]
  • Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov [p]
  • Douglass, Narrative
  • Einstein, Relativity
  • Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth [p]
  • Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning
  • Franklin & Lavoisier, “Report of the Commissioners Charged by the King to Examine Animal Magnetism”
  • Freud, Civilization and its Discontents
  • Galileo, Letter to the Grand Duchess
  • Galileo, The Starry Messenger
  • Galileo, Letters on Sunspots
  • Gericault, The Raft of the Medusa
  • Gilman, “The Yellow Wallpaper”
  • Goethe, Faust Part I
  • Herschel, Preliminary Discourse [p]
  • Hume, Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion
  • Hume, “Of Suicide”
  • Hume, “Of the Immortality of the Soul”
  • Hume, “On Miracles”
  • Huxley, Brave New World
  • Huxley, “Evolution and Ethics”
  • Hobbes, Leviathan [p]
  • Ibsen, A Doll’s House
  • Ibsen, Hedda Gabler
  • Ishiguru, Never Let Me Go
  • Various jazz tracks
  • Kant, Critique of Pure Reason [p]
  • Kant, “What is Enlightenment?”
  • Kant, Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals
  • Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions [p]
  • LeGuin, “Nine Lives”
  • LeGuin, “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas”
  • Levi, Survival in Auschwitz
  • Lewontin, The Triple Helix
  • Lightman, Einstein’s Dreams
  • Liu, “Paper Menagerie”
  • Locke, Essay Concerning Human Understanding [p]
  • Locke, On Civil Government [p]
  • Marx, The Communist Manifesto
  • McEwan, Enduring Love [p]
  • Mill, On Liberty
  • Newton, Principia [p]
  • Newton, Optics [p]
  • Nietzsche, Genealogy of Morality
  • Nietzsche, “On Truth and Lie in the Extra Moral Sense”
  • Nietzsche, The Gay Science [p]
  • O’Connor, “A Good Man is Hard to Find”
  • O’Connor, “Guests of the Nation”
  • Orwell, “Shooting an Elephant”
  • Paine, Age of Reason
  • Paley, Natural Theology [p]
  • Postman, “Five Things We Need To Know About Technological Change”
  • Resnais, Night & Fog
  • Rushdie, “Step Across This Line”
  • Sartre, “Existentialism is a Humanism”
  • Schiller, Ode (to Joy) with Beethoven, Ninth Symphony
  • Shelly, Frankenstein
  • Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago [p]
  • Soyinka, The Bacchae of Euripides
  • Soyinka, Death and the King’s Horseman
  • Stephenson, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
  • Stoppard, Arcadia
  • Stoppard, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead
  • Stoppard, Jumpers
  • Thoreau, On Civil Disobedience
  • Tolstoy, The Death of Ivan Ilyich
  • Tolstoy, The Kreutzer Sonata
  • Tyndall, “The Belfast Address”
  • Voltaire, Candide
  • Vonnegut, Galapagos
  • Watson, The Double Helix
  • Wells, The Island of Dr. Moreau
  • Wiesenthal, The Sunflower
  • Wilson, Sociobiology [p]
  • Woolf, A Room of One’s Own [p]
  • Various short pieces on eugenics, quantum mechanics, the nature of mathematics, and multiverses.

Ancient Perspectives (HON 384)

“Ancient Perspectives” is a set of courses on varied topics offered by a number of Barrett faculty. My current course is an examination of Greek drama within the context of 5th Century conflict with critical readings of Aristophanes, Sophocles, Euripides, Aeschylus, Herodotus, and Thyucidides.

Special Topics (HON 394/494)

I occasionally offer special topic courses. There is no guarantee that any of these will be offered again.

  • Evolution and the monotheistic traditions – perspectives, interpretations & interactions: An examination of contemporary evolutionary theory and how its claims have been interacted with by traditional monotheism. [Last offered in Fall 2012].
  • Cultural encounters with ancient Greece: A one-credit course offered on Barrett’s Summer Study Abroad to Greece and Italy. [Last offered in Summer 2014].

Non-Honors Courses

In the past I have taught non-honors courses for the School of Life Sciences. I currently have no plans to teach these in the near future.

  • HPS 323: History of Science: An episodic history of science over the last 350 years. Generally concentrates on the physical and earth sciences. [Last offered in Fall 2010]
  • HPS 311 / BIO 344: Origins, Evolution & Creation: A history of anti-evolutionism, focusing on the claims of American creationists. Lectures cover philosophical, scientific, and historical material. [Last offered in Spring 2011]
  • HPS 342 / BIO 346: The Darwinian Revolution: An examination of Darwin’s life, ideas and influence on science, philosophy, religion, politics, and literature. Briefly discusses opposition to Darwin’s ideas in the 150 years since the publication of Origin. [Last offered in Fall 2011]