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PHIL 363A: Seminar in History and Philosophy of Science: Democratic Science┬┐of the Climate, Races, H2O

Is the Earth¿s climate real? Does it exist beyond experimental data, computer simulation, andnscientists¿ writings? This seminar considers philosophical, historical, and anthropological perspectivesnon the reality of scientific entities. It asks how these metaphysical questions are connected to ourndemocratic societies and our position as scholars. We will ask whether Homo sapiens is sub-dividedninto races and ethnicities in the manner of a census form. And how genetics should interact with ournsocial understanding of human diversity. Further, can the answers to these questions stand alone asnisolated academic questions, or must they be tied together with our political philosophy and socialnnorms? If democratic pluralism leads to metaphysical pluralism, what becomes of long-discardednscientific entities, such as phlogiston? Some argue that pluralism upsets our most basic scientificnfacts, like: water is H2O.nThis graduate seminar examines these scientific entities¿the climate, races, p more »
Is the Earth¿s climate real? Does it exist beyond experimental data, computer simulation, andnscientists¿ writings? This seminar considers philosophical, historical, and anthropological perspectivesnon the reality of scientific entities. It asks how these metaphysical questions are connected to ourndemocratic societies and our position as scholars. We will ask whether Homo sapiens is sub-dividedninto races and ethnicities in the manner of a census form. And how genetics should interact with ournsocial understanding of human diversity. Further, can the answers to these questions stand alone asnisolated academic questions, or must they be tied together with our political philosophy and socialnnorms? If democratic pluralism leads to metaphysical pluralism, what becomes of long-discardednscientific entities, such as phlogiston? Some argue that pluralism upsets our most basic scientificnfacts, like: water is H2O.nThis graduate seminar examines these scientific entities¿the climate, races, phlogiston¿fromnperspectives in Philosophy, Anthropology, and History of Science. The course topics illustrate recentntrends toward metaphysics in the humanistic study of science. Students will develop their ability toncompare positions and arguments between disciplines. Class time will emphasize inter-disciplinaryndiscussion. The major writing assignment is an essay with multiple drafts. This is designed to preparenstudents for writing and revising dissertation chapters and peer-reviewed articles.nActivities may include a film screening and visit to a scientific laboratory.nStudents from all programs are welcome. (Advanced undergraduates by permission.)
Terms: Aut | Units: 4 | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit
Instructors: Wright, A. (PI)
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