Human Observation

New School for Social Research: Philosophy

Liberal Arts

Graduate Course

Degree Students (with Restrictions)

Human Observation

Fall 2020

Taught By: Simon Critchley and Christian Madsbjerg

Section: A

CRN: 7655

Credits: 3

We hope this course will change your life. True observation is the ability to look and listen without the interference of assumptions and prejudices. It is a skill that is becoming increasingly rare in the hyperconnected data-reliant world that we live in. This course is an attempt at returning to the human way of looking at things, a way that the industry is coming home to after experiencing the insufficiency of Big Data. In this seminar, we will understand the process of observation by reading selections from the philosophical works of Maurice Merleau-Ponty, William James, Martin Heidegger and John Stuart Mill. In addition, we will read examples of great observation from the literary works of J.A.Baker, Annie Dillard, Georges Perec, Lawrence Durell, and Nicholson Baker, to understand what it takes to conjure a lived experience on a page. Class discussions will be accompanied with rich industry examples where the practical application of human observation has solved complex business or government problems. Students will complement their theoretical study with practice. The city of New York is perhaps one of the best places in the world to observe human beings engaged in social practices. Students will work in groups and immerse themselves in a lived experience of their choosing, each making an individual attempt at describing their observation. Groupmates will critique each other’s observation of the same lived experience, focusing on the strength of observation and clarity of description. This course will be co-taught by Christian Madsbjerg, co-founder of ReD Associates, and Simon Critchley, who teaches philosophy at the New School for Social Research.

College: New School for Social Research (GF)

Department: Philosophy (GPHI)

Campus: Online (DL)

Course Format: Lecture (L)

Max Enrollment: 30

Add/Drop Deadline: September 14, 2020 (Monday)

Online Withdrawal Deadline: November 22, 2020 (Sunday)

Seats Available: Yes

Status: Closed*

* Status information is updated every five minutes. The status of this course may have changed since the last update. Open seats may have restrictions that will prevent some students from registering. Updated: 12:10pm 1/20/2021 EST

Meeting Info:

Days: Thursday

Times: 4:00pm - 5:50pm

Building: Online Course

Date Range: 9/3/2020 - 12/17/2020