Food for Thought: What Are the Social Sciences Good For?
Food for Thought is an informal reading and discussion seminar where students engage fundamental questions in community without the stress of grades or papers. The October module is entitled: What Are the Social Sciences Good For?In our era of Big Data, we have become increasingly aware of and concerned about the biases structuring surveys and encoded into algorithms that in turn shape the way that we think and live. These concerns fuel suspicions of the social sciences themselves, even as we continue to lean on their purportedly objective conclusions for decision making in pluralist societies that otherwise lack common moral frameworks. This Food for Thought module, What Are the Social Sciences Good For? will challenge students to explore the unique strengths and limitations of social sciences when it comes to addressing the most fundamental human questions about truth and the good life. With the guidance of special guest faculty facilitators, we will discuss questions like: What are the axioms and assumptions underlying these disciplines? Do the social sciences offer a uniquely compelling vantage point for inquiry into meaningful questions as compared to other disciplines? How should we understand the imperfect effort to be fully objective within the social sciences, and what is the role of value judgments in research and evaluation?How ought we think about the relationship between the social sciences, humanities, and the hard sciences? The goal of this module is not to pit social sciences against other disciplines in an attempt to identify which is the superior avenue for truth-seeking. Instead, the goal is to serve as a forum for critical, imaginative conversation about the ways in which the social sciences can and cannot facilitate human flourishing and understanding.This seminar will meet at 7pm ET for three sessions: on Wednesday October 14, October 21, and October 28.
Zoom Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82640231234