PROGRAMME/Courses overview

Future problems

Future Problems of Science and Society

 

This course is available:        

CCSP Summer Sessions 2018 (course starts: July 9, 2018, course ends July 20, 2018)

 

Course leaders:                     

Dr. Bas Levering (Utrecht University).

                  

Credits:                           

4 ECTS

 

Course fees Summer Sessions:    

13.200 CNY

 

More information:                

studyinchina@edvance-international.com

 

Apply now:

https://www.utrechtsummerschool.nl/courses/social-sciences/future-problems-of-science-and-society

 

Course description

Not too long ago It looked like science was capable of delivering solutions to all the problems the world was confronted with. Technology makes it possible to feed all inhabitants of planet Earth. Developments in medical science create successful treatment of almost all known diseases. It looks like in the near future war will be a phenomenon of the past. However, a second look reveals that new serious problems have emerged and that those new problems have been for a big part caused or created by scientific developments themselves. To mention only two: ‘Robotisation produces an unfair division of labour’. ‘Digitalisation offers unrestrained power to internet companies. It looks like those problems affect the foundations of the western welfare state. They have grown into a real challenge for democracy as it has developed in the west over the last centuries. It is more than challenging to confront western with eastern (Chinese) approaches of these problems.   

 

The Israeli  historian Yuval Noah Harari wrote a brilliant book with illuminating reflections on these problems. His Homo Deus. A Brief History of Tomorrow exists of three parts.

In Part 1 ‘Homo Sapiens Conquers the World’ he tries to explore the relationship between Homo sapiens and other animals, in an attempt to comprehend what makes our species so special. The relationship between humans and animals is in his view the best model we have for future relations between super humans (cyborgs) and humans.

 

In Part 2 ‘Homo Sapiens Gives Meaning to the World’ focusses on the bizarre world Homo sapiens has created in the last millennia and how he did come to believe in the humanist creed. What are the economic, social and political implications of this creed? How does it shape our daily life, our art and our most secret desires? 

In Part 3 ‘Homo Sapiens Loses Control’ our early 21st century predicament and our possible futures are described beyond mere philosophising and idle future telling, as Harari calls it. A description of our smartphone use, dating practices and job market is presented. Does the search for immortality, bliss and divinity shake our belief in humanity? And if humanism is in danger, what might take its place? 

 

Harari’s book serves as the core text of the course. A critical reading of Harari’s book asks for background knowledge that will be delivered in the daily lectures. It is clear that that background knowledge cannot be provided by one scientific discipline only, but is to be found in input from a variety of scientific disciplines like economy, (political) philosophy, social sciences (psychology and sociology) and biology. So the course as a whole is extraordinary because of its multidisciplinarity and as a unique meeting point of western and Chinese approaches. The course includes an excursion to one or two Chinese companies.

 

Examination

The course grade is based on two different components.

1.       Evaluation of a group presentation. (30%) (Students prepare one presentation in a small group on one of the distinguished subthemes).

2.       Written exam on all course materials. (70% of the final grade)

 

Grading

1.       Group presentation: 30%

2.       Written exam: 70%

 

Student profile/target group

Students of the social sciences, including economics and business, political sciences, European studies, history, culture studies and sociology. A wide range of interests will help, but no specific expertise is required.

 

Course Requirements

·         Attendance during all sessions

·         Active participation in lectures and tutorials

·         Participation in the group presentation.

·         Participate in the final exam

 

Reading

Harari, Y. N. (2016). Homo Deus. A Brief History of Tomorrow. London; Vintage. (ISBN: 978-1-784-70393-6)

 

Course structure

The course comes with lecture sessions in the morning, after which one part of the afternoons is used for the discussion of exercises. The second part of the afternoon is used for self-study and project work.

 

Application deadline

1 June 2018

 

Apply now:

https://www.utrechtsummerschool.nl/courses/social-sciences/future-problems-of-science-and-society

 

Resume Course Director / Lecturers

Dr. Bas Levering has been teaching Philosophy and History of Education at the University of Utrecht since the beginning of the seventies, from 1975 on as an associate professor. From 2004 to 2012 he worked as professor of Pedagogy at the Fontys Professional University in Tilburg, Netherlands. From 2009 to 2011 he was a guest-professor of Pedagogy at Ghent University in Belgium. He published numerous books and articles on pedagogy, research methodology, philosophy of science and ethics. His book Childhood’s Secrets. Intimacy, Privacy and the ‘Self’ Reconsidered (New York, 1996), co-authored by prof. Max van Manen of the University of Alberta (Canada), is in eight languages now, including Chinese.

 

At the request of the Netherlands Scientific Council for Government Policy (WRR) Levering wrote a study on value and norms in education (2004). He is a regular commentator in major Dutch media. He taught at universities in Belgium, Italy, Norway, Slovenia, Canada, Russia and China.

 

Course schedule

 

Monday, July 9, 2018

Time

Programme

Comments

09.00-12.00

Session 1: Lecture:   General Introduction

 

Readings:

Harari, Ch. 1

13.00-17.00

Self-study   / critical reading


 

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Time

Programme

Comments

09.00-12.00

Lecture: On immortality

Readings:

Harari, Ch. 2

 

13.00-15.00

Tutorial   on Monday & Tuesday’s materials


15.00-17.00

Self-study   / critical reading


 

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Time

Programme

Comments

09.00-12.00

Lecture: Just another animal: Darwinism, for   and against

Readings:

Harari, Ch. 3

13.00-15.00

Tutorial on Wednesdays’ materials


15.00-17.00

Self-study   / critical reading







 

 

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Time

Programme

Comments

09.00-12.00

LectureLecture: Nationalism   never dies

Readings:

Harari, Ch. 4 & 5

13.00-15.00

Tutorial on Thursday’s materials


15.00-17.00

Self-study   / critical reading


 

Friday, July 13, 2018

Time

Programme

Comments

09.00-12.00

Lecture: A short history of western political philosophy

Readings:

Harari, Ch. 6 & 7 

 

13.00-15.00

Tutorial on Thursday’s materials


 

Friday, July 13, 2018

Time

Programme

Comments

09.00-12.00

Lecture: A short history of western political philosophy Africa

Readings:

Harari:   Ch. 6 & 7

13.00-15.00

Tutorial  on Monday’s  Literature


15.00-17.00

Self-study   / critical reading


 

 

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Time

Programme

Comments

Afternoon



 

Monday, July 16,   2018

Time

Programme

Comments

09.00-12.00

Lecture: Decades of Childhood. On the Acceleration of Change.

Readings:

Harari,   Ch. 8

13.00-15.00

Tutorial  on Monday’s  Literature


15.00-17.00

Self-study   / critical reading


 

Tuesday, July 17,   2018

Time

Programme

Comments

09.00-12.00

Lecture: Problems of the Multicultural Society

Readings:

Harari,   Ch. 9

13.00-15.00

Tutorial on Tuesday’s materials


15.00-17.00

Self-study/critical reading


                                                                                                                    

Wednesday, July 18,   2018

Time

Programme

Comments

09.00-12.00

Lecture: The Disappearance of Respect for Privacy

Readings:

Harari,   Ch. 10 & 11

13.00-15.00

Tutorial on Wednesday’s materials


15.00-17.00

Self-study/critical reading


 

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Time

Programme

Comments

09.00-12.00



13.00-17.00

Self- study on exam materials


 

Friday, July 20, 2018

Time

Programme

Comments

09.00-10.00

Written exam


11.00-17.30

Free time


18.00-20.00

Farewell dinner & graduation ceremony

17.30hrs: