Paths to Knowledge

Each Paths to Knowledge (PATHS) course is unique, asking students to consider different interdisciplinary topics from many angles.

PATHS is an interdisciplinary course that focuses on different modes of reasoning and inquiry in the sciences and humanities.  As the one required (non-elective) course for the Honors track, PATHS is a critical thinking and reasoning course that addresses questions such as:

  • Why do we seek knowledge?
  • How is knowledge created?
  • How should we judge the value and validity of knowledge claims
  • How should society make decisions about the uses to which knowledge is put?

Spring 2014 HONR 100:Paths to Knowledge courses will address:

CRNs 4173 & 4174
You have spent much of your life in school with the intended goal of acquiring, among other things, knowledge. In this class we will be looking at the question of what knowledge is, why/if/when it's important and how it is most productively acquired. More specifically, our discussion of knowledge will shift to a discussion of truth and understanding, how (or whether) these are related to knowledge, which of these is most desirable and, again, how they are acquired. In the course of these discussions, we will touch on many topics and disciplines including, but not limited to, philosophy, neuroscience, art, sociology and history. 


CRNs 5252 & 5253
Through the use of interdisciplinary study we will examine how the events of September 11, 2001 have affected the United States and abroad. Linking the study of culture, religion, politics, and visual rhetoric this course intends to approach a pivotal point in the history of the world and the subsequent twelve years in a well-rounded and thorough manner. The course will be founded in reading and interpreting ideas that surround the last twelve years, creating a unique class that integrates elements of reflection on a historical event and interpretations of contemporary culture and society that may be results of the impact of September 11th.


CRNs 8029 & 8103
This course will explore what it means to be a contemporary 'citizen of the world.' Students will examine the use of cosmopolitan philosophy as a response to the established and long-lived historical fact of globalization and contemporary global problems. The course will be organized around the identification of issues of global significance such as HIV/AIDS, refugees, human rights, desertification, pollution, global warming, distribution of world resources (natural, energy, technological, etc.) that introduce conflicts of knowledge based in 'in-group' and 'out-group' constructs. Since 'cosmopolitan' means 'citizen of the world' special attention will be paid to the ways that different forms of identity construction -- from nation-state to ethnic groups -- frame and define 'truth' and 'knowledge' as well as our responses (personal and group-based) to the crises and conflicts of a global nature. Is it possible to find the 'truth' of global issues? If so, whose 'truth' is it?  To what extent is 'nationhood' an obstacle to practical solutions? What are the limits/ capacities of humans to transcend artificial or socially constructed boundaries? What can be truly 'known' about global issues when one is not directly affected by them? How can we be truly 'global' in our understanding, collaboration, and implementation of solutions to global problems, especially when our social and political selves are created in specific geo-political and cultural places?


University News
December 17, 2014
Drake University has been named to the Kiplinger's Personal Finance list of 100 best values in private universities for 2015, coming in at No. 34.
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