• The study of the core concepts in the humanities and social sciences (CCHSS) is an inquiry into the essence of the good life, both individual and collective. Any of the CCHSS are hence lenses to help us think and act in the world. In much the same way that lenses in our eyes refract light on the retinas so that we may perceive clear images, the CCHSS clarify and shape how we interpret the political manifold in our minds and help us steer our individual and collective destiny within the world. CCHSS thus examines key ideas in the history of (Western) thought and considers the ways thinkers have responded to philosophical problems of their times and how these dilemmas are inextricably entwined with the social, political, economic, cultural and ethical aspects of everyday life. Such an approach enables us to understand the strengths and weaknesses of various epochs and philosophical approaches; concomitantly, we gain a critical perspective on our own. Students are therefore expected to master a number of relevant concepts and to assess the form and quality of the influence that certain CCHSS have had – and may still have – on the contemporary landscape.

  • Science and technology studies (STS) is an interdisciplinary approach to the study of science and technology (S&T) and their relationship with human beings and the societies, polities and cultures they inhabit. The course thus explores the central – if not determining – role of S&T in modern societies by providing a critical analysis of the philosophical, sociological, political, economic and moral conditions and choices they confront us with.
  • Despite a recent reciprocal borrowing of ideas between the empirically oriented Anglo-American tradition and the philosophical approach of European thought, we still seem to be no nearer to agreeing what exactly power is, let alone whether it is a necessary evil or an inescapable good. Although Power: uses and abuses cannot promise to resolve these rival visions, it does seek to provide students with a toolkit of ideas and concepts about power with which to interpret, analyse and provisionally evaluate the world today.