Founded in 1986, the Humanities Institute presents a thematic program each semester on a topic related to the humanities. As part of Scripps’ tradition of interdisciplinary education, this program includes lectures, conferences, exhibitions, performances, and film series bringing prominent and younger cutting-edge scholars to campus.
Your most cherished beliefs did not emerge in a vacuum. You believe what you do because of who and where you are, your personal trajectory, and, ultimately, the long history of events and ideas leading up to your life. This is sometimes emphasized by others as a way to debunk or undermine one’s views. These kinds of objections are familiar: “You just believe that because you’re a woman!” “You just believe that because you’re friends with the defendant!” or “You just believe that because you’re Jewish!” These kinds of objections can sometimes succeed in bringing to light one’s biases; other times they seem to miss the mark and point out the biases of the objector instead. If we are going to learn from one another, and discuss topics of interest within our community and think together, we should get clear on the significance of the genealogy of beliefs, so we can better understand, and more accurately gauge, our own and each other’s credibility. This semester the Humanities Institute will focus on whether, and why, it matters what are the causes and origins of our beliefs, including those about justice, morality, religion, beauty, and the world.