Our program

Content of the five fundamental courses, of our mandatory core program:

Nature and culture – course details – Year 1

This courses purpose to put the classic Nature/Culture opposition into perspective, by the way of two complementary approaches that should encourage the students to develop an « ecological responsibility » and to go beyond the somewhat simplistic or scientist vision of this opposition.
The first approach focuses on the study of mankind biological and social history and protohistory. It insists on the progressive shift in the status of the human species, from an animal towards an agent that intentionally changes its ecosystem.
The second approach uses the resources of cultural anthropology and ethnology to show that the Nature/Culture distinction is a product of history and specific to the western civilization. These two axes make use of various notions taken from anthropology, paleontology, prehistory and history of the primitive and ancient civilizations, the theory of the evolution of species, ethology, ecology, geography and theory of art expression.
The professors involved in this course are linguists (Odile Leclerc, Cristel Portes), philosophers (Baptiste Morizot), epistemologists (Eric Audureau), biologists (Marie Montant, Gabriel Neve), professors of literature (Mathieu Brunet, Joël July) and experts in social sciences (Christel Dondeyne, Dorothée Dussy).

Logic, Language, Calculation

We all own computers. These tools are the practical result of some important theoretical results in the domain of mathematical logic that came up in the 20th century. This course puts forward the most important steps of this history: the first codifications of the correct reasoning laws, wich belong specifically to the domain of logic; the first controversies about their justification in the classical Greece; the development and improvement of the logic’s symbolism took place in the 17th century and during the period 1879-1936. Besides this historical scansion, logic is by essence an interdisciplinary object: made of mathematics and philosophy (about 50%50), it is involved in all scientific approaches. Logic meets semiology and grammar (this course includes some teaching on the structural linguistics and formal grammar), as well as calculation (beginning of algebra, history of logic, from Aristotle to Boole, use of calculation in computer programming and in the cognitive sciences with the theories of artificial intelligence.
The professors involved in this course are mathematicians (Jean-Yves Briend, Martin Lustig, Myriam Quattrini), philosophers (Gabriella Crocco, Dominique Demange, Isabelle Koch), historians of mathematics (Marie Anglade), epistemologists (Eric Audureau, Julien Bernard), and computer programmers-logicians (Frédéric Olive).

Systems of the world

This course is developed following three main lines that were historically intertwined in a recurrent manner, to give a systematic explanation of the world. These Weltanschauungen rely on (1) the cosmogony, cosmology, astronomy, (2) theology, and (3) literature. In the end, the contemporary idea of the cosmos is explained in this course following the well-specified central theme of mechanics. The historical (experimental and theoretical) development of mechanics is explained, which includes the bases of quantum mechanics and relativity. This course is not restricted to the western cosmology but addresses as well – in partnership with the program of « Nature and Culture » – the concepts that have been developed in the « Pensée Sauvage » to account for the systems of the world.
The professors involved in this course are physicists (Thierry Chave, Gaétan Hagel, Olivier Morizot, Julie Patris), philosophers (Dominique Demange, Isabelle Koch, Igor Ly) and epistemologists (Philppe Abgrall, Eric Audureau).

Figures of power

This course’s purpose is to analyze how social actors (individuals, institutions, nations) elaborate and formalize knowledge, science and technology are not autonomous entities, they do not exist independently of historical and social processes: they depend on the actors that produce them, and represent a strong lever of power for those who have mastered them. From a methodological point of view, « Figures of power » focuses on a critical and pragmatic approach to the history of science and technology. This course examines most of the aspects that highlight the complex relationship between the production of knowledge and the exercise of power: the social gender relations, the physical and social constraints exerted on the human body, the constitution of scientific disciplines, the organization and control of territories, the identification procedures for individuals, and finally, the birth and development of the information networks, including the internet.
The professors involved in this course are historians (Damien Boquet, Thomas Glesener, Laure Verdon), philosophers (Dominique Demange), mathematicians (Martine Quino), economic analysts (Nicolas Meunier) and social scientists (Elisabeth Brun Hurtado, Christèle Dondeyne, Dorothée Dussy).

Optic, Vision, Colors

The history between these three concepts shows that they have experienced amazing changes that will be analyzed during this course from an historical perspective. « Optics, Vision, Colors » relies on various concepts notions that come from physical optics, chemistry, philosophy, cognitive science (psychophysics, psychophysiology and psychology) together with aesthetic data on perspective and color (the Greek « fishbone » perspective; the Golden Number and the theory of « Médités », geometry and theory of perspective in Renaissance painters, seurat and the theories of color, etc.)
The professors involved in this course are chemists (Florence Boulc’h), artists, biologists (Nicolas Catz, Marieke Longcamp, Gabriel Nève), physicists (Simona Bodea, Sandrine Ferri, Gaetan Hagel, Olivier Morizot), philosophers (isabelle Koch) and epistemologists (Eric Audureau).

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