"The 'Trials' of Theoretical Curiosity"
For those of you interested in such things, I should mention that I'll be offering a course on "curiosity" at Yonsei's Underwood International College next fall. Here's the official description of the course, which I think can be accurately categorized as "intellectual history":
The 'Trials' of Theoretical Curiosity: Free Inquiry and its Potential LimitsAs I explained to John Frankl, the UIC's Assistant Dean (or perhaps: Common Curriculum Program Chair):
The course will deal with Part 3 of Hans Blumenberg's tome in intellectual history, The Legitimacy of the Modern Age. Originally in German but translated by Robert M. Wallace into English, Part 3 is titled "The 'Trial' of Theoretical Curiosity." Blumenberg's historical analysis traces the vicissitudes undergone by "curiosity" from Socrates to Feuerbach. The course will be intellectual history but with larger implications for views on the origin and character of Modernity and its emergence from the Medieval worldview. The fundamental lesson would concern the difficulty encountered by curiosity as a legitimate intellectual pursuit. Students would likely draw their own inferences as to current threats -- or even understandable limits -- to curiosity in our postmodern times, whether from the political correctness advocated by radical multiculturalism or from the fundamentalist resurgence predicated upon the revenge of God. Readings will include selections from Blumenberg as well as articles to be supplied at the beginning of the semester. An essay with thesis statement, citations, and bibliography, initially as a first full draft and then as a final draft, will be required.
Blumenberg's argument on the trial of theoretical curiosity would likely be of intrinsic interest for students. Moreover, I've been familiar with Blumenberg's works since 1984, and I've been doing a research project with Professor Warren T. Reich, editor of the Encyclopedia of Bioethics, who is working on a history of care and wants to include the etymologically related term "curiositas" in his work, so I've become something of an expert on this topic and will be working on it even more over the next few months.Frankl asked only that I shorten the title, which I have: "The 'Trials' of Theoretical Curiosity."
Now, we just have to see if students are interested.