MAT 141 - Honors Calculus I
Mathematics as a Liberal ArtThe notion of a liberal arts education dates back to ancient Greece, where the liberal arts were distinguished from the productive and industrial arts. As far back as the middle ages, the liberal arts were subdivided into seven disciplines : Grammar, Logic, Rhetoric, Arithmetic, Music, Geometry, and Astronomy. Two of these fields, arithmetic and geometry, are branches of mathematics. A third, logic, is intimately entwined with mathematics. Thus, for thousands of years, learning mathematics was an essential part of being a well educated citizen.
That is no longer the case. Today, mathematics too often is considered merely a tool. For many people, the value of mathematics is in its applications to physics, chemistry, economics, and many other fields. And while it has proved to be an indispensible tool in many subjects, that should not detract from it value as a subject in its own right.
The goal of this course is twofold. The first is to introduce the students to the basic concepts of calculus, namely integration, limits, and differentiation. The second is to develop in the students a level of mathematical sophistication; to expose them to the habits of thought and patterns of reason that are characteristic of moden mathematics. They will learn to appreciate the beauty of mathematics, and the lessons it has to offer beyond mechanical skills.