345-102-MQ, Of Words and World Views
What does Siddhartha’s luxurious palace have in common with Plato’s penitential cave? Why is the “Bhagavad-Gita” – the story of a warrior’s duty to fight – an allegory for non-violence? What did the Italian thinker Vico mean when he called for a New Science in the midst of the scientific revolution? This course examines the powerful effects of words, parables, allegories, and narratives as these inform the world view of a specific people, at a specific time and place in human history. We then stop to examine the longevity of these words over cultural space and time. How do stories survive, and how do they change their meanings as they migrate, in whole, or in part, from one region to another? How does one culture’s allegory meet with another culture’s myth? What is lost and what is gained in the exchange? With this in mind, our course explores words and their users from a variety of existential, hermeneutical, and pragmatic perspectives, both east and west. We attempt to understand how language enables us to abide within the world in an essential way, and how, in fact, it opens us to the world view of another.