Lux et Veritas. These words are printed on every IU-Bloomington diploma and literally carved into our limestone buildings. Translated as “Light and Truth,” the motto evokes the light of inquiry – of an exploration of truth and a turning away from ignorance.
Crises such as the Covid-19 pandemic, opioid epidemic, gun violence, and climate change have helped underscore the importance of knowledge and knowledge-making. While scientific inquiry often plays a key role for policy makers, educators and scientists who have sought to address these challenges, many people have turned to other paths of inquiry in order to pursue knowledge and make sense of their changing worlds, including: art, history, literature, language and linguistics, philosophy, and media.
Whether by choice or by circumstance, the last few years have meant a reconsideration of how we lead our lives, how we pursue meaning, and how we attempt to bring order to our chaotic world. The disciplines of the College regularly explore some of the key questions at the heart of such introspection: What is truth? What is the role of scientific expertise in making civic and political decisions? What is the role of philosophy and literature in understanding what is true? Is a fact different from the truth? Can a story be truthful even if it’s not factual? How important are systems of belief when it comes to the pursuit of truth? How do media representations and technological innovations influence our understanding of truth and fact? How do we know what we know?
The early 21st century has been marked by a series of national and world challenges, and the paths toward addressing these challenges have only underlined the importance of inquiry and how conceptions of what is true might differ. Inspired by Indiana University's motto, the College will present Themester 2023: Lux et Veritas | Light and Truth. This theme will explore the nature, history, artistic and scientific expressions of light and truth, as well as the cultural role of inquiry in relation to these concepts as they are found in the arts and sciences . . . and beyond.
A final Themester
Themester 2023’s Lux et Veritas | Light and Truth will be the College’s final fall themed semester. This 15th Themester will explore how we know what we know, and how we grapple as individuals and communities with various forms of knowledge. We can think of no more fitting final theme than one devoted to the university’s motto and the ideals it expresses.