Le Grand Syllabus 2016/2017
Pedagogical method : Lecture Course Description : This series of twelve talks is unique in the world of social science institutions. It will introduce Sociophysics, a new emerging ﬁeld which combines concepts and tools from the physics of disorder and collective phenomena to build models to describe some aspects of social and political behaviors. Initiated more than 35 years ago, Sociophysics has become a ﬂourishing ﬁeld of international research at the edge of the unknown. As the result of the development of Sociophysics, new, unexpected and disturbing light has been shed on free will, participative democracy, the spreading of minority opinion, unexpected and brutal societal breakdowns, controversies, the emergence of rumor, radicalisation, terrorism, war and peace. Consequently, a number of fundamental views on policy-making are being called into question, which makes the invention of new democratic paradigms a must. Understanding of the use of equations is essential to grasp the way in which physicists have been able to discover the hidden laws of nature. This is a key prerequisite for sociophysics in its search for a physics-like breakthrough in our understanding of human behaviour. Accordingly, classes will involve some equations, each of which will be explained in detail, so that the mathematicallyreluctants will understand, thus creating a unique opportunity to discover the amazing power of mathematical modelling. Although there is no mathematical prerequisite for this course, curiosity and interest in understanding how to “play” with equations are essential. The lectures will be unique and experimental. Participants will be contributing to a large-scale experiment on the unexpected transmission of the hard sciences to students of the social sciences. The challenge is twofold, understanding the language of mathematics and adopting a different cognitive approach to social reality. It will be up to us to take on the challenge! Required reading : S. Galam, «Sociophysics: A Physicist’s Modeling of Psycho-political Phenomena », Springer (2012) ; S. Galam, The invisible hand and the rational agent are behind bubbles and crashes, Chaos, Solitons and Fractals 000 (2016) 1–8 ; S. Galam, « Stubbornness as an unfortunate key to win a public debate: an illustration from sociophysics », Mind and Society (2015) DOI 10.1007/s11299-015-0175-y ; 752
N. Golo and S. Galam, « Conspiratorial Beliefs Observed through Entropy Principles », Entropy 17 (2015) 5611-5634 ; G. Vinogradova and S. Galam, « Global alliances effect in coalition forming », Eur. Phys. J. B (2014) 87: 266, 1-12.
THE CONCEPT OF RACE: HISTORICAL AND PHILOSOPHICAL PERSPECTIVES
Semester : Spring Number of hours : 24 Language of tuition : English
Teachers : Justin SMITH (Professeur des universités), Apolline TAILLANDIER (Doctorante) Prerequisite : None Pedagogical format : Lecture alone Course validation : • 1 midterm exam consisting in short-answer and expository essay questions (40%). • 1 ﬁnal argumentative research paper. This paper will be 6-8 pages long, and will involve both original research as well as the development and defense of a novel thesis (50%). • Participation and attendance (10%). Course Description : There is, strictly speaking, no such thing as race. That is, there is no scientiﬁcally interesting way in which humanity may be divided up into a handful of real sub-kinds; to speak of ‘Caucasians’, ‘Blacks’, etc., is to fail, as pragmatist philosophers like to say, to carve nature at its joints. Yet in spite of their scientiﬁc bankruptcy, universally recognized by all mainstream anthropologists and biologists since the mid-20th century, these categories continue to seem very pertinent in the way we talk about our social reality. Why is this? The full answer has much to do with economics, sociology, etc., but also something to do with the history of science and philosophy since roughly the Scientiﬁc Revolution at the beginning of the 17th century. In this course w