Search result: Catalogue data in Autumn Semester 2019

History and Philosophy of Knowledge Master Information
Basic Courses
Lectures and Exercises
NumberTitleTypeECTSHoursLecturers
862-0050-00LTheorie and Methodology Seminar MAGPW Restricted registration - show details
Only for MA History and Philosophy of Knowledge.
W2 credits2GN. Guettler, C. Jany
AbstractIntroduction to methods, theories and work techniques of the disciplines represented in the study programme.
ObjectiveThe interdisciplinary seminar is aimed exclusively at students of the master's program "History and Philosophy of Knowledge". It is designed to give students an insight into the subjects represented in the degree program and their specific requirements, procedures, questions and working techniques.
Prerequisites / NoticeDates: Thursday, 10-12
851-0549-00LWebClass Introductory Course History of Technology 3.0 Restricted registration - show details
Number of participants limited to 50

Registration in the introductory session on 23.9.2019. In addition, registration at www.einschreibung.ethz.ch as well as on the Moodle server is required. Late registrations cannot be considered

Particularly suitable for students of D-BAUG, D-INFK, D-ITET, D-MATL, D-MAVT.
W3 credits2VG. Hürlimann
AbstractTechnology stands for innovation and catastrophes; it works as a dream machine and is associated with the most diverse ways of utilization. In WebClass Introductory Course History of Technology 3.0 students become familiar with explanations for how technology works within complex economic, political and cultural contexts, by interpreting and researching texts and authoring a student manual.
ObjectiveStudents are introduced into how technological innovations take place within complex economic, political and cultural contexts. They get to know basic theories and practices of the field by acquiring the skills to interpret texts, to compare arguments, to research additional sources and complementary material and to author a common essay. All of this will yield into a student manual on the four core topics: technology and innovation, technology and catastrophes, technology as a dream machine and technology and association. The course language is German, and even if many texts will be in English, the ability to read and understand German is mandatory.
ContentTechnik steht für Innovation und Katastrophen, sie dient als Wunschmaschine und ist mit unterschiedlichsten Nutzungsformen assoziiert. Die WebClass Technikgeschichte 3.0 ist ein webgestützter Einführungskurs, der um diese technikhistorischen Grundthemen kreist. Technikgeschichte untersucht Angebote technischer Entwicklungen, die in bestimmten historischen Kontexten entstanden und von sozialen Gruppen oder ganzen Gesellschaften als Möglichkeit sozialen Wandels wahrgenommen, ausgehandelt und schliesslich genutzt oder vergessen wurden. Die Studierenden lernen, sich in jene Aushandlungsprozesse einzudenken, die soziotechnische Veränderungen stets begleiten. Sie interpretieren Texte, vergleichen Argumente, recherchieren alte und neue Darstellungen und verfassen in Gruppen einen Beitrag zu ihrem eigenen Manual der Technikgeschichte. Der Onlinekurs wird von zwei obligatorischen Präsenzveranstaltungen – einer Einführungssitzung und einem Redaktionsmeeting – begleitet. Die aktive Teilnahme und das erfolgreiche Bearbeiten von Onlineaufgaben (Verfassen von Texten) werden vorausgesetzt.
Lecture notesInformationen zur Arbeit mit der WebClass Technikgeschichte finden Sie unter https://www.tg.ethz.ch/programme/lehrprogramm/webclass-einfuehrungskurs/. Sobald Sie eingeschrieben sind, haben Sie Zugang zum Online-Kurs auf Moodle mit den Aufgaben und den weiterführenden Materialien.
Literaturehttps://www.tg.ethz.ch/de/programme/
Prerequisites / NoticeOnlinekurs mit 2 oblig. Präsenzsitzungen
Einführungssitzung: Montag 23.9.2019, 17:15-19:00
Redaktionssitzung: Montag 11.11.2019, 17:15-19:00
Ambulatorium (Sprechstunde) nach Gruppen: Montag 25.11.2019, 17:15-19:00

In der Webclass werden die Studierenden mit technikhistorischen Perspektiven bekannt gemacht. Sie lernen, solche Perspektiven zu erfassen, zwischen ihnen zu differenzieren und sich selbst zu positionieren nach dem Dreischritt behaupten - begründen - belegen. Zudem entwickeln sie ein Sensorium für die Arbeit mit historischen Quellen.
Der Kurs besteht aus fünf Online-Phasen, zwei Präsenzsitzungen und einer Sprechstunde. In den Online-Phasen werden Aufsätze und Quellen schriftlich in Blog-Foren bearbeitet und diskutiert. Die Präsenzsitzungen dienen der gemeinsamen Vorbereitung und Reflexion. Der Leistungsnachweis erfolgt in der Teilnahme an den Präsenzsitzungen und durch die Blogbeiträge, die alle Teilnehmenden gemäss klar definierten Rollen und Aufgaben verfassen.
851-0609-06LGoverning the Energy Transition Restricted registration - show details
Number of participants limited to 25.

Primarily suited for Master and PhD level.
W3 credits2VT. Schmidt, S. Sewerin
AbstractThis course addresses the role of policy and its underlying politics in the transformation of the energy sector. It covers historical, socio-economic, and political perspectives and applies various theoretical concepts to specific aspects of governing the energy transition.
Objective- To gain an overview of the history of the transition of large technical systems
- To recognize current challenges in the energy system to understand the theoretical frameworks and concepts for studying transitions
- To demonstrate knowledge on the role of policy and politics in energy transitions
ContentClimate change, access to energy and other societal challenges are directly linked to the way we use and create energy. Both the recent United Nations Paris climate change agreement and the UN Sustainable Development Goals make a fast and extensive transition of the energy system necessary.
This course introduces the social and environmental challenges involved in the energy sector and discusses the implications of these challenges for the rate and direction of technical change in the energy sector. It compares the current situation with historical socio-technical transitions and derives the consequences for policy-making. It then introduces theoretical frameworks and concepts for studying innovation and transitions. It then focuses on the role of policy and policy change in governing the energy transition, considering the role of political actors, institutions and policy feedback.
The course has a highly interactive (seminar-like) character. Students are expected to actively engage in the weekly discussions and to give a presentation (15-20 minutes) on one of the weekly topics during that particular session. The presentation and participation in the discussions will form one part of the final grade (50%), the remaining 50% of the final grade will be formed by a final exam.
Lecture notesSlides and reading material will be made available via moodle.ethz.ch (only for registered students).
LiteratureA reading list will be provided via moodle.ethz.ch at the beginning of the semester.
Prerequisites / NoticeThis course is particularly suited for students of the following programmes: MA Comparative International Studies; MSc Energy Science & Technology; MSc Environmental Sciences; MSc Management, Technology & Economics; MSc Science, Technology & Policy; ETH & UZH PhD programmes.
851-0125-65LA Sampler of Histories and Philosophies of Mathematics
Particularly suitable for students D-CHAB, D-INFK, D-ITET, D-MATH, D-PHYS
W3 credits2VR. Wagner
AbstractThis course will review several case studies from the ancient, medieval and modern history of mathematics. The case studies will be analyzed from various philosophical perspectives, while situating them in their historical and cultural contexts.
ObjectiveThe course aims are:
1. To introduce students to the historicity of mathematics
2. To make sense of mathematical practices that appear unreasonable from a contemporary point of view
3. To develop critical reflection concerning the nature of mathematical objects
4. To introduce various theoretical approaches to the philosophy and history of mathematics
5. To open the students' horizons to the plurality of mathematical cultures and practices
851-0101-31LThe Rise of an Asian Giant: Introduction to the History of Modern India (c. 1600-2000)W3 credits2VH. Fischer-Tiné
AbstractThe lecture offers a survey of the historical trajectories taken by the countries of the Indian subcontinent from the 17th century to the turn of the 21st century. The thematic foci include, but are not limited, to an examination of the question whether or or not there was a pre-European South Asian modernity.
ObjectiveThrough this course students are acquainted with the history of one of the most important world regions. The objective is not only to introduce participants to a richly diverse civilization, they are also encouraged to look at interrelations and make comparisons with the West. Through this approach their knowledge of European history is contextualised in a global framework while simultaneously their intercultural sensitivity is being trained.
851-0157-00LMind and BrainW3 credits2VM. Hagner
AbstractIn the last 2500 years, the mind-brain relationship has been articulated in various ways. In these lectures, I will explore the scientific and philosophical aspects of this relationship in the context of relevant cultural, historical and technological processes, with a focus on the modern neurosciences, but I will also discuss works of art and literature.
ObjectiveBy the end of this lecture, students should be familiar with essential positions in the scientific and philosophical treatment of questions relating the mind to the brain. It should also become clear that some of the most relevant problems in current neurosciences have a long history.
ContentAccording to a myth, the ancient Greek philosopher Democrit dissected animals, because he was in search of the seat of the soul. Current neuoscientists use neuroimaging techniques like functional magnetic-resonance-tomography in order to localize cognitive and emotional qualities in the brain. Between these two dates lies a history of 2500 years, in which the relationship between the mind and the brain has been defined in various ways. Starting with ancient and medieval theories, the lecture will have its focus on modern theories from the nineteenth century onward. I will discuss essential issues in the history of the neurosciences such as localization theories, the neuron doctrine, reflex theory, theories of emotions, neurocybernetics and the importance of visualizing the brain and its parts, but I will also include works of art and literature.
851-0101-88LNational Socialist Persecution, International Politics on Refugees and Science 1933-1945 Restricted registration - show details
Number of participants limited to 30
W3 credits2GG. Spuhler
AbstractThe course discusses the development of National Socialist persecution policy, the reactions of democratic states to the persecution of the Jews and the role of science in the Nazi regime.
ObjectiveThe students are able to distinguish the phases of persecution and know various models to explain how the Holocaust came about. They can situate Swiss refugee policy in an international context. In their engagement with science under National Socialism, they develop an awareness of the socio-political responsibility of science.
ContentThe "Nazis" and the "Holocaust" are omnipresent in politics and entertainment industry - often combined with a lack of historical knowledge. The students learn about the logic of radicalization from exclusion to expulsion to extermination. The reaction of selected states to the persecution of Jews will enable them to recognise the challenge the Nazi regime posed to Western democracies and to place Swiss refugee policy in an international context.

The fact that "the Germans," whose achievements in art and science made them one of the world's leading nations, murdered millions of people on an industrial scale, caused widespread horror. This is based on the assumption that education and culture stand in contrast to the "barbarism" of the "Nazis". Therefore, the course pays special attention to the role of science and the academically educated people.
851-0101-85LImages of the ArtificialW3 credits2V + 2UM. Hampe
AbstractStudents will be made acquainted with different understandings of the artificial. Various members of ETH (with different disciplinary backgrounds) will present what they take to be crucial concepts, methods, challenges, and limits in our investigations of, for instance, of artificial life, artificial food and materials, and artificial intelligence.
ObjectiveBy the end of the course students are able to describe and compare different understandings of the artificial. They are able to identify and examine the different concepts and methods characteristic of each of these understandings. Students are in a position to critically discuss and evaluate the crucial challenges and limitations of each approach in a broader scientific context.
851-0101-89LPhilosophical Issues and Problems in Theoretical Computer ScienceW3 credits2VD. Proudfoot
AbstractThis course studies philosophical issues concerning computers and computing.Topics include: information (and information content), computational complexity, the Turing Test for computer thought; the "Chinese Room" argument against the possibility of strong AI; connectionist AI; consciousness; the Church-Turing thesis; computational and hypercomputational models of mind; and free will.
Objective- Exhibit a general understanding of the philosophy and history of computing.

- Explain central problems in the field and their potential solutions, independently and at a level requiring in-depth knowledge and critical understanding.

- Communicate clearly in writing about topics in this field.
851-0101-91LModernity and its Other: Fantastic Literature and Occultism ca. 1900W3 credits2VA. Kilcher
AbstractThe course focuses on the complex relation between the Fantastic and Occultism, which is understood as part of the history of knowledge of the imaginary after the 18th century.
ObjectiveThe course aims at conveying a general overview on various theoretical and literary conceptions of the Fantastic. At the same time it wishes to transmit the knowledge of occultism and its forms of representation.
ContentThe Fantastic may be understood as the conflictual surpassing of the fundamental literary function of fantasy during the modern age. Fantasy no longer structures an autonomous wonderful world, but it breaks in on the real as the imaginary. After 1800, and in the form of the imaginary, the fantastic breaks into a world that is thought to be rational and scientifically explainable while dissolving the causative correlations of the Enlightenment. In the backdrop of such tensed evolution, the Fantastic establishes itself within the context of the secularisation and of the scientification of knowledge. Yet, the Fantastic also promotes new forms of knowledge that come into conflict with the academic sciences during the 18th and 19th centuries and assert themselves as counterknowledge. This becomes evident and comprehensible in relation to occult sciences, namely theosophy, occultism, spiritism etc. With reference to the Fantastic counterknowledge becomes evident in a wide variety of distinctive images, and narratives, that relate of the uncanny, the gothic, the grotesque, the demonic, the surreal etc. At the same time, occult sciences look for the proximity to the arts of the Fantastic, that promise a new aesthetic -- as well as their possibilities in the media -- for the representation and the narration of the imaginary and the obscure.

The course has a twofold goal. It wishes to understand the notion and the history of Fantastic literature beginning with the 19th century, taking as case studies crucial and intriguing writers such as E.T.A. Hoffmann, Gustav Meyrink and Jorge Louis Borges. At the same time, the course aims at ascertaining the notion "occult knowledge" (resp. occult sciences) and its epistemological aspiration in conflict with academic knowledge. The lecture, therefore, aims at the reconstruction of the complex interrelation between the Fantastic and Occultism as a part of the history of knowledge of the imaginary right up to Psychoanalysis.
851-0125-68LIntroduction to Premodern Astral SciencesW3 credits2VS. Hirose
AbstractThis course gives an outline of the history of astral sciences in the premodern times. We shall look at some representative texts ranging from around the beginning of the common era until the end of medieval times, and discuss their main topics and their approaches to solve astronomical problems.
ObjectiveThere are three main aims. (1) To see how disciplines that we today would call for example "astronomy", "mathematics" or "astrology" are positioned and related with each other. (2) To recognize the variance among different authors and texts. (3) To see the exchanges with the
surrounding world.
851-0101-72LThe Modern City and Cultural Criticism. The "Knowledge of Life" in Reform Movements 1880-1933W3 credits2VS. S. Leuenberger
AbstractRapid industrialisation, urbanisation and the unique sociopolitical conditions of 19th century Germany led, from 1880 onwards, to radical cultural criticism and calls for reform by parts of the bourgeoisie and youth. This lecture focuses on the theory and aesthetic practice of a wide range of reform movements, the so-called "Lebensreform" (life reform movement).
ObjectiveThe lecture is part of the "Science in Perspective" course programme: students will learn about the precursors of today’s calls for reform and alternative concepts which propagated the "back-to-nature" lifestyle around the 1900s.
ContentThe rapid industrialisation, mechanisation and urbanisation of 19th century Europe gave rise to a whole new set of challenges and problems in cities. From 1880 onwards, the unique sociopolitical conditions in Germany resulted in anti-urban and cultural criticism by parts of the bourgeoisie and academic youth, culminating in the idea that the fanatical belief in progress would end in disaster. Consequently, a wide array of reform movements sprang up, focusing on medical hygiene and sociopolitical, ideological, religious and spiritual concepts, which were intended to heal the mind and body. These movements were a wholly German and Swiss phenomenon and summarised under the term "Lebensreform" which also encompassed naturopathy, dress reforms, naturism, health food and vegetarianism, youth and womens’ movements, sexual liberation and intentional communities, organic farming, land reform, cooperative/free economy/garden city movements, nature conservation and homeland protection, progressive education and country boarding school movement, art education and Dalcroze eurhythmics, expressive dance, theatre reforms, regional literature and art, anthroposophy, the emergence of Germanic-German/German Christian religious communities, religious socialism and the Jewish renaissance.

This movement was clearly politically diverse, and attracted all manner of advocates, for example, those with social anarchist, jingoistic or anti-Semitic beliefs. What made them kindred spirits was their rather negative experience of modernisation: their fantasies about the era merely confirmed that existing interpretations of the human existence (Dasein) were obsolete. Amongst the fantasies was, as described by Gert Mattenklott, the idea of a dramatic shift in current thinking and the creation of a new world, the emergence of a new mankind that embodied the characteristics of youth, and a new community. Strong dichotomies like light and darkness, hot and cold, the fears of dehumanisation and a propensity for vegetarianism were also typical of life reforms.

The lecture is part of the "Science in Perspective" course programme: students will learn about the precursors of today’s calls for reform and alternative concepts which propagated the "back-to-nature" lifestyle around the 1900s. Some of the key concepts used then are unknown today or have been disavowed due to exploitation by the totalitarian regimes of the 20th century. Nevertheless, some of the original topics and objectives have once again become contemporary topics of discussion due to the debate about the future of society, the whole of mankind and the planet. Historization of present-day concepts is the condition on which plans for a possible future can be compared with previous attempts and experiences, and to identify alternatives and potential impasses, and provide objective evidence for debate.
LiteratureThe reading list includes literary texts and discursive texts, amongst others, from Gustav Landauer, Erich Mühsam, Else Lasker-Schüler, Paul Scheerbart, Heinrich and Julius Hart, Rudolf Steiner, Sebastian Kneipp, Max Bircher-Benner, Theodor Hertzka, Franz Oppenheimer, Ebenezer Howard, Theodor Goecke, Hermann Muthesius, Karl Schmidt-Hellerau, Bruno Taut, Gustav Wyneken, Wassily Kandinsky, Ludwig Klages, Emile Jaques-Dalcroze, Walter Benjamin, Martin Buber, Peter Altenberg, Robert Müller, Christian Kracht. Furthermore, we will discuss creative contributions from E. M. Lilien and Fidus (pseudonym Hugo Höppener).
851-0101-79LHas Truth Any Value, And If So, How Could I Adopt a (More) Objective Attitude in My Belief FormationW3 credits2GL. Wingert
AbstractIt is useful to know which fellowships are available or to know the causes of frequent occurence of extreme weather. These truths are of instrumental value. Is it also intrinsically good to know the truth, e.g. to know that there are gravitational waves? Which is the role of truth in our lives? And how should one conceive the relation between being objective and being true?
Objective1. Participant will learn different, influential philosophical answers and arguments for these answers to the overall question: Does truth has any value? (E.g. answers by William James, Friedrich Nietzsche, Hans Blumenberg, Ernst Tugendhat, Torsten Wilholt, William Kvanvig und Duncan Pritchard.)

2."Apply or die!" is often an expression of the demand to produce useful, e.g. technical knowledge. The course will enable participants to have an argument- based opinion on the relationsship between scientific research and applied science.

3. As regards personal life the course aims at an clarification of the existential role of truth in our personal lifes. Therefore, the conceptual link between objecitivity as an attitude and truth as an aim of inquiry will be clarified.

4. Objectivity is an anttitude not easy to adopt. The course should help to identify feasible conditions for taking such an attitude, and to clarify how (far) this attitude is apt to avoid prejudices, misinformation, and fakes.
851-0101-80LBasic Problems of Environmental EthicsW3 credits2GL. Wingert
AbstractClimate change exerts a pressure on us to significantly change our individual and collective behaviour. Such a pressure raises questions like: Who has to give up what? What is a fair distributions of the burdens in the struggle against the cllimate change? What is the reasonable understanding of our relation to nature? How should we run our economies?
ObjectiveParticipants should become familiar with basic approaches to central problems in environmental ethics.

The course will try to give an argument-based answer to the question: What are the responsibilities for individuals (e.g. as consumers), and for collectivities (e.g. states and firms).

Another focus will be to clarify the concept of "climate justice".

The course should also enable participants to evaluate different answers to the question how we should organize our economies for securing our ecological niche.
LiteraturePreparatory Literature

1. Dieter Birnbacher, Klimaethik, Stuttgart: Reclam 2016.

2. John Broome, Climate Matters, New York/London: Norton 2012.

3. Stephen M. Gardiner, A Perfect Moral Storm. The Tragedy of Climate Change, Oxford: University Press 2015.

4. Naomi Klein, Die Entscheidung: Kapitalismus vs Klima, Frankfurt/M.: Fischer 2016.
851-0101-28LThe Birth of a Writer. Primo Levi and His “If this is a Man”W3 credits2VM. Belpoliti
AbstractThe course retraces Levi’s writing journey which began after his return from the Auschwitz concentration camp and eventually led to the young chemist and former deportee become a writer. It thus focuses on Levi as an author in progress, following his consecutive writings and rewritings that culminated in the first publication of his work in 1947 and the now canonical re-edition of 1958.
ObjectiveThe course aim is to enter Levi’s writing workshop. Even though his first book has been regarded an immediate and spontaneous work for a long time, it went through a complex process of elaboration: from poetry to testimony, from memory to narration.
ContentThe course retraces Levi’s writing journey which began after his return from the Auschwitz concentration camp and eventually led to the young chemist and former deportee become a writer. The work he had written frantically during the first months after his return to Turin was to have a very curious destiny. Rejected by the publishers on first presentation, the book was printed in 1947 by De Silva, a small Turin publisher. However, it soon disappeared from the post-war literary horizon and only re-emerged in 1958 thanks to Einaudi. Thus began the long journey of one of the most extraordinary and profound stories of the extermination of the Jews of Europe, which has not ended yet.

The course focuses on Levi as an author in progress, following his consecutive writings and rewritings that culminated in the first publication of his work in 1947 and the now canonical re-edition of 1958, which has been translated into various languages. With what procedures, with what progressions has he become the writer we know from his debut work? To answer these questions we will analyse the parts added in the volume of 1958, focusing on the similarities characterizing the sheets inserted in the 1958 "typescript", on corrections and deletions, on the change of perspective between the two versions of the same book: an immersion in the laboratory of a writer who writes and rewrites, a tribute to Primo Levi in the centenary year of his birth.
851-0101-71LThe Autodidactic Journey in WritingW3 credits2VP. Kramer
AbstractThe opportunity is a rare, for a writer, to be able to reflect back on the texts, inspirations, movies and life experiences that shaped her work. It is on this autodidactic journey in literature that Pascale Kramer (Grand prix suisse de littérature 2017) intend to look back on in her lecture.
ObjectiveStudents and public will get the opportunity to discover and reflect on the literary beginnings, on the studio of creativity and the artistic evolution of a great Swiss contemporary writer.
ContentThe opportunity is rare, for a writer, to be able to reflect back on the texts, inspirations, movies and life experiences that shaped her work. It is on this autodidactic journey in literature that I intend to look back on, together with the students and the public. It will be an exchange on a wide range of issues, starting with my first true encounters: Hervé Guibert for the audacity “until the end” and the ethical stance, and Pascal Quignard for the frugal exactitude of the style. I will also touch on the discovery of the American authors and the ensuing feeling of filiation: Philip Roth, Richard Ford, Richard Bash. On the subject of the suffering body with Philippe Ramy and Charlotte Delbo. On the emergence of the political sentiment and my intimate approach of the precariousness through the documentary Au bout du monde by Claus Drexel. But also on my life at home in Valgiros; and my stays at l’Ancien Carmel of Condom, which will lead to Chronique d’un lieu en partage and Une famille. I will also examine the issue of writing about sexuality, with Moravia ‘s L’amour conjugal or Ghislaine Dunant’s L’impudeur, and about violence with Disgrace by J-M Coetzee, or the vertiginous Alcapone le Malien by Sami Tchak. And probably many more topics that will come up along the way…
851-0101-67LPhilosophy, Science, Teachings of Wisdom. On the History of Epistemic AttitudesW3 credits2VM. Hampe
AbstractPhilosophical theories, scientific explanations, and teachings of wisdom that aim at the transformation of attitudes to life are different forms of cognitive approaches to the world and to man, which can in the history of thought not always be clearly distinguished. This lecture-course will give an overview of the development of these modes of thought.
ObjectiveThe students should get to know and understand different modes of thought and gain an overview of their history.
ContentPhilosophical theories, scientific explanations, and teachings of wisdom that aim at the transformation of attitudes to life are different forms of cognitive approaches to the world and to man, which can in the history of thought not always be clearly distinguished. This lecture-course will give an overview of the development of these modes of thought.
851-0301-17LGerman RomanticismW3 credits2VC. Jany
AbstractThis introductory course to German Romanticism explores chiefly Romantic poetics and its reflexive as well as ironic forms of communicating and knowing, which eschew rationalistic and scientific platitudes. Equally important will be the inherent contradictions of Romanticism, for it is division, not unity, speaking from its heart, the ecstatic experience of absence and failure--Sehnsucht.
Objective1) develop an understanding of "Romanticism", of Romantic poetics and its reflexive as well as ironic forms of communicating and knowing
2) read the literary texts in question very carefully so as to get to know that mode of perception and description which since Ludwig Tieck, Novalis, Friedrich Schlegel, E.T.A. Hoffmann, Joseph von Eichendorff, etc. is called "Romantic"
3) participate in class by listening carefully and also through critical questions and feedback. This third point is particularly important because the lectures will serve as the basis for a small book, "A Short Introduction to the Literature of German Romanticism."
4) Since this lecture is part of "Science in Perspective" (SiP), we will also explore the relation between Romanticism and modern science.
Seminars
NumberTitleTypeECTSHoursLecturers
701-0019-00LReadings in Environmental Thinking Information
Does not take place this semester.
W3 credits2SJ. Ghazoul
AbstractThis course introduces students to foundational texts that led to the emergence of the environment as a subject of scientific importance, and shaped its relevance to society. Above all, the course seeks to give confidence and raise enthusiasm among students to read more widely around the broad subject of environmental sciences and management both during the course and beyond.
ObjectiveThe course will provide students with opportunities to read, discuss, evaluate and interpret key texts that have shaped the environmental movement and, more specifically, the environmental sciences. Students will gain familiarity with the foundational texts, but also understand the historical context within which their academic and future professional work is based. More directly, the course will encourage debate and discussion of each text that is studied, from both the original context as well as the modern context. In so doing students will be forced to consider and justify the current societal relevance of their work.
ContentThe course will be run as a ‘book reading club’. The first session will provide a short introduction as to how to explore a particular text (that is not a scientific paper) to identify the key points for discussion.

Thereafter, in each week a text (typically a chapter from a book or a paper) considered to be seminal or foundational will be assigned by a course lecturer. The lecturer will introduce the selected text with a brief background of the historical and cultural context in which it was written, with some additional biographical information about the author. He/she will also briefly explain the justification for selecting the particular text.

The students will read the text, with two to four students (depending on class size) being assigned to present it at the next session. Presentation of the text requires the students to prepare by, for example:
• identifying the key points made within the text
• identifying issues of particular personal interest and resonance
• considering the impact of the text at the time of publication, and its importance now
• evaluating the text from the perspective of our current societal and environmental position

Such preparation would be supported by a mid-week ‘tutorial’ discussion (about 1 hour) with the assigning lecturer.

These students will then present the text (for about 15 minutes) to the rest of the class during the scheduled class session, with the lecturer facilitating the subsequent class discussion (about 45 minutes). Towards the end of the session the presenting students will summarise the emerging points (5 minutes) and the lecturer will finish with a brief discussion of how valuable and interesting the text was (10 minutes). In the remaining 15 minutes the next text will be presented by the assigning lecturer for the following week.
LiteratureThe specific texts selected for discussion will vary, but examples include:
Leopold (1949) A Sand County Almanach
Carson (1962) Silent Spring
Egli, E. (1970) Natur in Not. Gefahren der Zivilisationslandschaft
Lovelock (1979) Gaia: A new look at life on Earth
Naess (1973) The Shallow and the Deep.
Roderick F. Nash (1989) The Rights of Nature
Jared Diamond (2005) Collapse
Robert Macfarlane (2007) The Wild Places

Discussions might also encompass films or other forms of media and communication about nature.
851-0144-20LPhilosophical Aspects of Quantum Physics
Particularly suitable for students of D-CHAB, D-PHYS
W3 credits2SR. Renner
AbstractThis course provides an introduction to philosophical issues about quantum physics. In particular, we will examine key concepts (such as locality and time) and different interpretations of quantum mechanics (such as the many-worlds interpretation).
ObjectiveBy the end of the course students are able to describe and compare different interpretations of quantum mechanics. They have the necessary background to identify and examine features and problems of interpretations and, more generally, of key concepts of quantum physics, such as the transition between quantum and classical systems.

The course is part of ETH's "Critical Thinking"-Initiative. It provides students an opportunity to see how established knowledge can be challenged. Giving a presentation and actively participating in discussions (both verbally and in writing) is key to a successful completion of the course.
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