HUM 582/COM 588/PHI 581: Observing the World
Leonard Barkan (Comparative Literature) and Daniel Garber (Philosophy)
In this seminar we will consider the different modalities of observation in the pre- and early modern world, including artistic, literary, philosophical, and scientific. A central problem will be the different ways in which the world was transformed into concrete representations through language, visual art, and mathematics. Among the topics of interest to us will be perspective; early modern technologies of vision; observation and experiment; cosmology; travel narrative; and the representation of the emotions. Among those whose works we may consider are Alberti, Bacon, Berkeley, Defoe, Descartes, Dante, Donne, Galileo, Leonardo, Montaigne, Milton, and Shakespeare.