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Grant number: AQ-228872-15

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Lawrence University (Appleton, WI 54911-5798)
Martyn Smith (Project Director: September 2014 to present)

NEH Enduring Questions Course on the Nature of Life

The development and teaching of a new seminar that would integrate humanistic and scientific approaches to understanding the nature of life.

This Enduring Questions course will examine the question "What is Life?" This is not a shorthand way to ask about "the meaning of life" or "the good life." It gets to something more basic. The question arises from the fact that human beings are surrounded by things that sense and grow and reproduce and die. We feel ourselves to be part of this living world or biosphere. The presence of Life is an elemental fact engaging human beings and spurring them to inquiry. Through the lenses of religion, philosophy, and science, this course will engage students in a pluralistic exploration of how human beings have made sense of Life. The project will span three years (5/1/2015 - 4/30/2018), including Professor Martyn Smith's exploration of core resources beyond his home discipline of Religious Studies to develop the course during a sabbatical term. The course will then be offered in the 2016-17 and 2017-18 academic years.

Project fields:
Comparative Religion; History and Philosophy of Science, Technology, and Medicine; Interdisciplinary Studies, Other

Enduring Questions: Pilot Course Grants

Education Programs

Total amounts:
$21,466 (approved)
$21,466 (awarded)

Grant period:
5/1/2015 – 7/31/2018