Skip to main content

Core Curriculum

Paradigm Shifts & the Nature of Human Knowing

Paradigm Shifts & the Nature of Human Knowing

Facilitator: Phil Kesten, Physics

At some time or another, many perhaps all disciplines have experienced a sea change in thought, when one or more scholars have pushed beyond the limits of the fields traditional approaches, assumptions, and understandings. Such dramatic, often rapid, changes that result in a shift away from previously accepted ways of thinking about a discipline can provide the opportunity for you to explore how people learn and how we think. In addition, understanding the sometimes wildly different ways knowledge is constructed and evidence interpreted in different disciplines can help you reflect more insightfully on your own education. This pathway includes courses that address ways of thinking within a discipline that are departures from the accepted norms and courses that include the usual ways of knowing and understanding in a discipline.

Exploring the pathway:
Look for the ways in which the topics in your Paradigm Shifts & the Nature of Human Knowing pathway courses are connected to the themes of the pathway. You might find it helpful to explore questions such as these:

What are the ways that knowledge, approaches, and assumptions are identified?

How can you apply this understanding to gaining insight into how you yourself come to know and understand? Can you tie this insight to an understanding of your past and future educational choices? Can you tie this insight to an understanding of your vocational choices?

Identify specific examples of a paradigm shift in your pathway courses. In what ways did a departure from the accepted norms in a discipline come about? What similarities and differences can you find between the ways departures from previously accepted ways of thinking occur in different disciplines?

Can you identify the emergence of an issue associated with the themes of this pathway in more than one of your pathway courses, that is, can you find a thread that is common to a number of these disciplines

Can you identify either overlapping or opposing approaches to the way we know and understand, based on your pathway courses?

Can you identify connections between the themes of this pathway and topics you have studied in your major?
You may discover that some of your instructors in courses in the Paradigm Shifts & the Nature of Human Knowing pathway don't directly mention a paradigm shift or directly address the nature of knowing. That's okay it's up to you to find the connections and common threads in these courses. By reflecting on and synthesizing that understanding across a number of courses for yourself, rather than having your instructors make the connections for you, you will learn more deeply in a way that can complement other aspects of your Santa Clara education.

Associated Courses

Foundations Courses
(Please note that only the specific Foundation course topics qualify for the Pathway requirements,
and only one Foundations course may be applied to a Pathway)

ENGL         2A         Paradigms of Knowledge (effective 1/1/11)
ENGL         2H         Paradigms of Knowledge (efffective 9/1/09)
ENGL         2A         Science, Technology, and Self (effective 9/1/09)
PHIL          12A       Human Nature & Moral Theories (effective 3/1/17)
PHIL          12A       Justice: Self/Others/Community (effective 1/1/11)
PHIL          12A       Personal Identity & Community (effective 1/1/16)
PHIL          12H       Personal Identity and Community (effective 1/1/16)
PHIL          12A       Philosophy of Law 
PHIL          12H       Philosophy of Law (effective 1/1/16)

Art History
ARTH         22         Art in the Age of Exploration: Introductions to Early Modern Europe (effective 9/1/09)
ARTH         23         Art and Revolution: Europe and the United States, 18th-20th Centuries (effective 9/1/09)
ARTH         120       Keeping up with the Medici: Fame and Family in Renaissance Florence (effective 9/1/09)

Biology
*BIOL        108       Genetics (effective 9/1/09)
*BIOL        110       Genetics L&L (effective 9/1/09)
*BIOL        122       Neurobiology L&L (effective 9/1/09)
*BIOL        173       Evolution L&L (effective 9/1/09)
*BIOL        175       Molecular Biology L&L (effective 9/1/09)
*BIOL        178       Bioinformatics (effective 9/1/09)

Chemistry
CHEM         32         Organic Chemistry II (effective 9/1/09)
*CHEM       151       Spectroscopy (effective 9/1/09)

Classics
CLAS         51         History of Philosophy: Classical and Medieval (cross-listed with PHIL 14; effective 9/1/16)
CLAS         171       Ancient Science and Technology (effective 3/28/16)

Computer Engineering
COEN         19        Discrete Mathematics (cross-listed with MATH 51; effective 9/1/09)
*COEN       179       Theory of Algorithms (cross-listed with CSCI 163; effective 9/1/09)

Electrical Engineering
*ELEN        160       Chaos Theory, Metamathematics and the Limits of Science: An Engineering Perspective on Religion (cross-listed with ELEN 217; effective 9/1/09)
ELEN          160L     Chaos Theory, Metamathematics and the Limits of Science: An Engineering Perspective on Religion Lab (ELEN 160 is a co-requisite; effective 9/1/09)
*ELEN         217      Chaos Theory, Metamathematics and the Limits of Science: An Engineering Perspective on Religion (cross-listed with ELEN 160; effective 9/1/09)

Ethnic Studies
ETHN           12       Native Spiritual Traditions (cross-listed with RSOC 91; effective 12/21/2015)

Finance
*FNCE         116      Mathematical Finance (cross-listed with MATH 125; effective 9/1/09)

History
HIST           30         The French Revolution, an Introduction (effective 9/1/17) 
HIST           75         Natives & Newcomers: Early North America (effective 01/01/2018)
HIST           84         United States Women's History (cross-listed with WGST 57; effective 1/1/11)
HIST           112       The Haitian Revolution in World History and Memory (effective 03/25/18)
HIST           115       Revolutions in Sex, Race & Rights (cross-listed with WGST 169; effective 1/1/18)
HIST           118       Representation, Rights, and Democracy, 1050-1792 (effective 1/1/17) 
HIST           121       Saving the World?: A Critical History of Human Rights and Humanitarianism (effective 4/1/17)
HIST           122       The Holocaust (effective 4/1/17) 
HIST           133       History of Sexuality (cross-listed with WGST 137; effective 1/1/16)
​​HIST           136       Gender and National Identity in 20th-Century Eastern and Western Europe (cross-listed with ​WGST 172; effective 3/25/16)
HIST           137       The Soviet Experiment (effective 9/1/09)
HIST           165       United States Political History (effective 09/19/16)
HIST           174       Turbulence and Change: America in the 1960s and 1970s (effective 01/09/2017)
HIST           175       Natives & Newcomers: Early North America (effective 01/01/2018)
HIST           176       Contemporary America: 1980 to the Present (effective 04/03/2017)
HIST           177       Gays and Lesbians in United States History (cross-listed with WGST 138; effective 1/1/11)
HIST           188S     The Making of Modern America: The Progressive Era (formerly HIST 188; effective 9/1/09)

Honors
HNRS          20         Difficult Dialogues (topic Existential Philosophy, Literature, Film & Theater only)

Mathematics and Computer Science
*CSCI         10         Introduction to Computer Science (effective 9/1/09)
*CSCI         10B       Introduction to Computer Science B (effective 1/1/15)
*CSCI         161       Theory of Automata and Languages I (effective 9/1/09)
*CSCI         162       Theory of Automata & Languages II (effective 9/1/09)
*CSCI         163       Theory of Algorithms (cross-listed with COEN 179; effective 11/2/2016)
*CSCI         164       Computer Simulation (effective 9/1/09)
*MATH        14         Calculus & Analytic Geometry IV (effective 11/2/2016)
MATH          51         Discrete Mathematics (cross-listed with COEN 19; effective 9/1/09)
MATH          101       Survey of Geometry (effective 9/1/09)
*MATH        113       Topology (effective 9/1/09)
*MATH        122       Probability & Statistics I (effective 9/1/09)
*MATH        123       Probability & Statistics II (effective 9/1/09)
*MATH        125       Mathematical Finance (cross-listed with FNCE 116; effective 9/1/09)
*MATH        170       Development of Math (9/1/09)

Music
MUSC          119       Music, Technology & Society​ (effective 9/1/15)
*MUSC        156       Improvisation (effective 1/1/11)
MUSC          189 ​      Sacred Music and the Church (effective 1/1/16)
MUSC          194       Music of the Romantic Period ​(effective 9/1/15)
MUSC          196 ​      Music Since 1945 ​(effective 1/1/17)

Philosophy
PHIL            14         History of Western Philosophy: Classical and Medieval (effective 9/1/14)
PHIL            14H       History of Western Philosophy: Classical and Medieval: Honors (effective 11/25/2015)
PHIL            19         Knowledge and Reality (effective 9/1/14; formerly PHIL 90)
PHIL            20         Introduction to Philosophy (effective 9/1/09)
PHIL            40         Science, Technology, and Society (effective 9/1/09; formerly PHIL 80)
PHIL            125       Moral Epistemology (effective 9/1/09)
PHIL            135       Existentialism (effective 9/1/09)
PHIL            140       Philosophy of Science (effective 10/8/2012)
PHIL            142       Problems of Knowledge (effective 9/1/09)
PHIL            145       Contemporary European Philosophy: Existentialism (formerly PHIL 135; effective 9/1/09)
PHIL            150       Wittgenstein (effective 10/11/2016; formerly PHIL 145)
PHIL            152       Problems of Moral Knowledge (effective Fall 2016; formerly PHIL 125)
PHIL            153       Philosophy of Science (formerly PHIL 140; effective 9/1/09)
PHIL            156       Knowledge, Truth, and Belief (formerly PHIL 142)
PHIL            174       Uncertainty, Conflict & Self Development: Chinese Perspectives

The normal prerequisite for all Philosophy upper division courses is upper division standing.

Physics
*PHYS         34         Physics for Scientists & Engineers IV (effective 9/1/09)
*PHYS         121       Quantum Mechanics I (effective 9/1/09)

Psychology
PSYC           50         Ways of Knowing (effective 9/1/09)

Religious Studies
*RSOC         91         Native Spiritual Traditions (cross-listed with ETHN 12; effective 1/1/11)
*SCTR         35          Science vs. The Bible: The Genesis Debates (effective 9/1/09)
*SCTR         35H        The Genesis Debates: Honors (effective 11/25/2015)
*SCTR         128        Human Suffering and Hope (effective 9/1/09)
*SCTR         165        Gender & Sexuality in Biblical Interpretation (cross-listed with WGST 148; effective 2/3/2016)
*SCTR         165R      RSS: Gender & Sexuality in Biblical Interpretation (cross-listed with WGST 148; effective 9/1/09)
*SCTR         170        Darwin & God (effective 1/1/11)
*SCTR         170R      RSS: Darwin & God (effective 9/1/09)
TESP           2            Magicians, Athletes and God: Fantasy Literature and Christian Theology (effective 1/1/11)
*TESP         50          Catholic Theology: Foundations (effective 3/1/10)
*TESP         50H        Catholic Theology: Foundations: Honors (effective 11/25/2015)
*TESP         58          Theology of Vatican II (effective 12/21/2015)
*TESP         72          Darwin, God & the Poets (effective 9/1/09)
*TESP         124        Theology of Marriage (effective 9/1/09)
*TESP         124R      RSS: Theology of Marriage (effective 9/1/09)
*TESP         127        Theology of Family (effective 9/1/09)
*TESP         176        Nature, Humanity, Spirituality (effective 9/1/09)

Sociology
SOCI           117        Sociologys Analytical Frameworks and Conceptual Approaches (effective 9/1/09)
*SOCI         119        Sociological Theory (effective 9/1/09)

Women's and Gender Studies
WGST          57         Women in American Society (cross-listed with HIST 84; effective 9/1/09)
WGST          137​       History of Sexuality (cross-listed with HIST 133; effective 1/1/16)
WGST          138       Gays and Lesbians in United States History (cross-listed with HIST 177; effective 9/1/09)
*WGST        148       RSS: Gender & Sexuality in Biblical Interpretation (cross-listed with SCTR 165R; effective 9/1/09)
WGST          169       Revolutions in Sex, Race & Rights (cross-listed with HIST 115; effective 1/1/18)
​WGST          172​       Gender and National Identity in 20th-Century Eastern and Western Europe (cross-listed with ​HIST 136; effective 9/1/09)

* Indicates Course Has Prerequisites