Overarching goal: To begin to develop your ability to recognise potential problems and needs more readily and with greater accuracy than others.
Key words: Intellectual curiosity, Reflective learning, Exposure to multi-disciplinarity
What to expect: You will be treated to a four-fold stroll through big ideas on human inquiry and the nature of the world. Four different professors will introduce you to, and help you reflect upon the different modes of inquiry that constitute the modern knowledge enterprise.
Module 1: Nature of Scientific Knowledge by A/P Kang Hway Chuan
We will focus on what we can understand of the physical world. We will examine the science of two phenomena - motion and the atom - in order to understand the nature of scientific knowledge. Framing this with the elements of the scientific method - hypothesis, observations and experiments, theories - let's discuss how objective our knowledge of reality is.
Module 2: The Nature of Reality by A/P Kuldip Singh
In my seminars, I hope to expose you to some broad issues on the nature of Reality and how we have unravelled some of its mysteries. Lensing them from both the scientific and Philosophical perspectives, we will focus on two key areas - the nature of space-time and quantum theory. These two areas will also showcase how knowledge evolves. I will also attempt to situate some of the key developments in a historical context. This will facilitate showcasing the "paradigm shifts" that occured at the turn of the twentieth century- from Newtonian regimes to the relativistic and quantum regimes
Module 3: Reason and the World by A/P Loy Hui Chieh
We will consider the power and limitation of pure reason's ability to give us knowledge about the human and natural world. Let's begin historically with Zeno's Paradox, using the ancient Greek thinker's argument against the possiblity of motion as a starting point. We will then focus on human moral responsibility within the backdrop of a deterministic physical universe as a case study, considering both a powerful argument against the idea that we have any such responsibility and some responses to it. I hope to close with a more general discussion.
Module 4: How do we study ourselves?by Dr Charles Burke
Social science is essentially the science of us, in aggregate. While psychologists deal with understanding ourselves in an individual sense, social scientists deal with society as a whole. Let's discover some of the different methods we have devised to study society. These methods will be taught from the perspective of a lecturer who considers his research science. This begs the question, is social science "real" science? And, what are the consequences of answering that question either yes or no? (Science wars?). In essence, I will put forth myself, my work and the big ideas of scholars that have influenced me as a model, allowing us to together learn through critical reflection of my influences, thoughts, views and research.