345-101-MQ, Plato's Cave
This course is about revealing our sources of knowledge. In this course, students learn that much of what we think is not original, but firmly rooted in some philosophic school of thought developed and modified, perhaps with age. After everything that has been thought and written, the best we can hope for today is to combine the old thoughts in such an original way that they will appear fresh and new. In the course of examining the history of ideas, we come to understand how we know what we think we know and how to criticize what we think we know intelligently, thoughtfully and carefully. Our individual life experience is not enough to draw on when we think and make decisions. And yet, most of us refer to little else. Why limit ourselves to the knowledge of one's life experience, when we have three thousand years of documented philosophic thought to draw on? How rich we all would be if we included in our assessments the findings of those who thought, and recorded those thoughts before us.