Examining the Origin, Development and Impact of Ideas
The history of ideas program offers students the opportunity to construct an independent course of study in the history of ideas. Santayana put it well in saying: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." To understand and evaluate our beliefs and commitments – even to understand the significance of the questions and problems that beset us – we need to trace their sources and their history.
Because ideas are expressed in social and political institutions as well as in philosophical, scientific, religious and literary works, the HOID program is distinguished by its multidisciplinary approach. Since political structures and institutions are themselves articulated in vigorous intellectual debates, we need to understand the ideas that have formed and continue to form them.
HOID proposes to provide students with the historical background of the issues and values that have shaped their interests. It is intended to provide students with the skills and the knowledge, the guidance and the freedom to construct a focused and rigorous course of study, one that explores the historical transformations of a set of ideas and institutions across several traditional disciplines.