The Friday Seminar

Thinking Across the Disciplines

Fridays 12:00-2:00 PM (16-136) 

The Concourse Seminar is dedicated in the spring to the critical epistemological question of how we can know those things that we think we know.  We will consider what knowledge consists of, how we acquire it, and how we can feel certain enough in it to provide us with a direction forward.  These broad concerns are not all addressed in the same way across the disciplines, as the standard(s) for truth claims can vary considerably depending on the object of one’s inquiry.  Over the course of the semester we will hear from a variety of MIT Faculty from a range of Science, Humanities, and Social Science disciplines about some aspect of their own work.  You will have the opportunity to see how different disciplines think: how they frame questions, how they gather evidence, and how they use that evidence to answer their questions.

Here is the link to our Fall 2019 MITx site (MIT login required):


Fall 2019 seminar schedule

Date Topic
I. Asking Questions
September 13 (Week 2) What is education?
September 20 (Week 3) Career fair (no seminar)
September 27 (Week 4) What can history teach us?
October 4 (Week 5) What can science teach us?
October 11 (Week 6) What is evidence and what is a proof?
II. Pursuing Answers
October 18 (Week 7) Technology and the good life
October 25 (Week 8) Family weekend: chaplains’ visit
November 1 (Week 9) What is happiness and what is virtue?
November 8 (Week 10) Concourse Exploration Pilot: lightning talks
November 15 (Week 11) TBD
November 22 (Week 12) The limits of knowledge (What don’t we know?)
III. Thinking Ahead
November 29 (Week 13) (No class – Thanksgiving)
December 6 (Week 14) Final Seminar TBD

Past Friday Seminar Schedules

Spring 2019

Spring 2017

Fall 2016

Spring 2016

Fall 2015

Fall 2014

Fall 2013

Spring 2013