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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, and scientists' writings? This seminar considers philosophical, historical, and anthropological perspectives on the reality of scientific entities. It asks how these metaphysical questions are connected to our democratic societies and our position as scholars. We will ask whether Homo sapiens is sub-divided into races and ethnicities in the manner of a census form. And how genetics should interact with our social understanding of human diversity. Further, can the answers to these questions stand alone as isolated academic questions, or must they be tied together with our political philosophy and social norms? If democratic pluralism leads to metaphysical pluralism, what becomes of long-discarded scientific entities, such as phlogiston? Some argue that pluralism upsets our most basic scientific facts, like: water is H2O. nThis graduate seminar examines these scientific entities - the climate, races more »
Is the Earth's climate real? Does it exist beyond experimental data, computer simulation, and scientists' writings? This seminar considers philosophical, historical, and anthropological perspectives on the reality of scientific entities. It asks how these metaphysical questions are connected to our democratic societies and our position as scholars. We will ask whether Homo sapiens is sub-divided into races and ethnicities in the manner of a census form. And how genetics should interact with our social understanding of human diversity. Further, can the answers to these questions stand alone as isolated academic questions, or must they be tied together with our political philosophy and social norms? If democratic pluralism leads to metaphysical pluralism, what becomes of long-discarded scientific entities, such as phlogiston? Some argue that pluralism upsets our most basic scientific facts, like: water is H2O. nThis graduate seminar examines these scientific entities - the climate, races, phlogiston - from perspectives in Philosophy, Anthropology, and History of Science. The course topics illustrate recent trends toward metaphysics in the humanistic study of science. Students will develop their ability to compare positions and arguments between disciplines. Class time will emphasize inter-disciplinary discussion. The major writing assignment is an essay with multiple drafts. This is designed to prepare students for writing and revising dissertation chapters and peer-reviewed articles. Activities may include a film screening and visit to a scientific laboratory. Students 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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