I’m Hayden, a freshman NNU Honors College student and (as of this semester) a premed major. This semester I have had the privilege of taking Western Intellectual Tradition I, and it has been one of the most transforming experiences of my life. Throughout the semester, we studied the works of different philosophers who were most influential to western philosophy. In general, we would come to class having read a few chapters of the book that we were assigned, and then we would discuss them in class.
What I like most about this class is that whether we are discussing Plato, Dante, or Hobbes, Professor Timpe and Professor Shaw always find a way to relate our class topics back to how we as students should respond to events that are currently happening around the world. For example, when there was a tragic campus shooting in Roseburg, Oregon, the book that we were currently studying was City of God by St. Augustine. Obviously, when it comes to campus safety there are many different views; for example, Jerry Falwell Jr., president of Liberty University, has recently suggested that students should carry guns in order to protect themselves from campus shootings. Having grown up in a conservative environment, I would almost be inclined to agree with him. However, what I took away from Professor Shaw’s lecture on the City of God was something much different from Falwell’s view. While reading and hearing lectures of City of God, it is clear that Augustine argues that Christians should not trust in their own strength but rather in the divine will of God. For me, being able to apply such views to my life is much more important than anything else that I can learn in class.
There are also many other things that I love about Western Intellectual Tradition. Class participation is always encouraged, and both Professor Timpe and Professor Shaw are more than happy to answer questions. Also, although the workload is not unreasonable, Western Intellectual Tradition is by far my most challenging class. There is a lot of assigned reading, and we are held to a very high standard on all of our papers; a paper that would earn an A in my university writing class would probably only earn a C in honors. However, they also provide a bunch of feedback and are very good at giving advice on how to better argue your beliefs. This was one of my favorite classes this semester, and I really look forward to taking Western Intellectual Tradition II next year.