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History of Ideas and Science

History of Ideas and Science is concerned with how people at different periods have perceived themselves and their environment. What differentiates people from animals? What does the universe consist of? How should society be organised? Is it possible to know something with certainty? How do I lead a good life?

Questions such as these invite one to explore the history of philosophy and science. However, it is not only the great ideas and recognised philosophies of the past that a historian of ideas (intellectual historian) studies. Of equal interest is the seedbed of ideas to be found in society and traditions – the interaction between historical source and context characterises the perspective of the history of ideas. Institutions, technology and media become essential factors in understanding how perceptions of the world and people arise and are then mediated and communicated.

The historian of ideas studies the major lines, the overall contexts; an interdisciplinary impulse is one of the subject’s distinguishing features. Another characteristic is the approach based on open borders. A philosophical tract, a scientific essay, a work of art, a political pamphlet, a technical drawing, an advertisement – it is not the source that defines the subject of the history of ideas but rather the way that the particular source is interpreted, the questions one asks of the past.

In our introductory courses you will acquire knowledge of the general characteristics of the History of Ideas and Science subject. In the second cycle (Master level) the accent is on modern times and frequently current debates are used as the starting point. Political theory, aesthetics, continental philosophy, post-colonial and gender theory perspectives are common features of our courses. In the courses and study programmes we lay great emphasis on textual analysis, reasoning and critical thinking.

Page Manager: Elin Widfeldt|Last update: 2/27/2019

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