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History and Philosophy of Science   

Graduate Courses

undergraduate | by title

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2501 / PHIL 2600 Philosophy of Science Core
Belot, Gordon
W 1:00-3:25 pm
This course will focus on central topics in general philosophy of science, from the heroic age of logical empiricism onwards: explanation, confirmation, theory change, the meaning of theoretical terms, scientific realism.

2502 History of Science 1
Machamer, Peter
Th 3:00-5:30 pm
This course is designed as a survey of specific movements in the history of science from antiquity to the early 17th century.  Highlighted during this course will be topics in the history of mathematics, physics, optics, astronomy, biology, and medicine.  Most readings will be drawn from primary source materials.  This course is the first part of a two-part series.  The second course, History of Science II, will deal with specific issues from the 17th century up to the present.  The courses are designed so that they can be taken independently.  The specific topics treated in these survey courses vary from year-to-year and from professor-to-professor.

2514 History of Atomism
Chalmers, Alan
M 2:00-4:30 pm
The course will look at versions of atomism from Democritus up to Jean Perrin's experiments on Brownian Motion. The focus will be on the kinds of the cases that were made for atoms, attempting to distinguish philosophical cases from scientific one's. An attempt is made to pinpoint when and how the atom became a part of experiment science.

2534 General Relativity and Gravitation
Earman, John and Norton, John
Th 9:30-12:00 am
This seminar will survey foundations issues in classical general relativity theory (including the causal structure of spacetime; the initial value problem, the "hole argument", and the status of general covariance; and spacetime singularities) and in general relativistic cosmology (including the "horizon problem" and the genesis of inflationary cosmology; accelerating expansion and "dark energy"; and the multiverse and anthropic selection).

2567 William Harvey’s Natural Philosophy
Lennox, James
T 9:30-12:00 am
The purpose of this seminar is to advance our understanding the underlying philosophical foundations of William Harvey's functional anatomy, as exemplified in his two published works Exercitatio Anatomica de Motu Cordis et Sanguinis in Animalibus and Exercitationes de Generatione Animalium. Harvey studied at Padua at a time when it was the center of a certain kind of Aristotelianism, and he identifies Aristotle as his principal philosophical and biological inspiration. In his own day and since, he has also been identified as among the first to apply systematically the ‘experimental philosophy’ to the study of animals. Does he represent a ‘tension’ between old and new, a creative integration of old with new, or is there a less ‘whiggish’ way to understand him? The aim of the seminar will be to understand Harvey's achievements in their context, and against the background of various traditions in Renaissance anatomy.

2641 / PHIL 2641 Experimental Philosophy
Machery, Edouard
T 4:00-6:25 pm
During the last few years, a growing number of philosophers, along with a few psychologists and anthropologists, have tried to bring experimental methods to bear on philosophical debates, typically by investigating the folk's intuitive reactions to well-known thought-experiments in philosophy. Many of the results have been surprising and some of the conclusions drawn from them are extremely provocative.

2650 / PHIL 2652 Philosophy of Psychiatry
Schaffner, Kenneth and Machamer, Peter
W 3:00-5:55 pm
This course will examine some of the conceptual and methodological issues, as well as several historical topics, in psychiatry. We will assess the ways in which "scientific" psychiatry analyzes and proposes criteria for the definitions of psychiatric disorders and classifications, and discuss their reliability and validity.  These issues will be considered in general, and also as they relate to the last edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) IV-TR of the American Psychiatric Association and the current project for revising this manual. More specifically, these topics include examining the organizing principles for psychiatric classification and the roles of etiological and non-etiological characterizations of disorders. The usefulness of reductive strategies and the mechanisms of disorders (including related genetic and neuroimaging research) will be reviewed. We may also consider how we should relate recent dimensional models for mental disorders to traditional, symptom- and treatment- driven categories. Our philosophical perspective is primarily analytical, however phenomenological and hermeneutical approaches will also be discussed. Historical topics will include the contrast between psychoanalytical, narrative approaches and biological psychiatry, and the transition of the discipline from the former to the latter. Extended consideration of schizophrenia and depressive disorders will be course themes. The seminar will close with a discussion of legal and ethical issues in psychiatry.

2667 / PHIL 2627 Philosophy of Quantum Mechanics
Belot, Gordon
M 9:30-11:55 am
This course will be an introduction to the philosophy of quantum mechanics. It will presuppose no special knowledge of physics or of philosophy of physics. We will survey the classic interpretative questions regarding locality, the measurement problem, and ontology. We will read parts or all of the introductory texts of David Albert, R.I.G. Hughes, and Michael Redhead. This will be a background seminar and for those interested in pursuing this field further can serve as a prequel to a more advanced course to be taught in the Spring semester by Earman and Ruetsche.

2673/ PHIL 2041 / CLASS 2314 Studies in Aristotle
Allen, James
T 7:00-9:30 pm
Aristotle invented formal logic, his groundbreaking contributions to which are contained in the Prior Analytics. He did not do so in a vacuum, however. The context for his logical inquiries was furnished by, on the one hand, an interest in the proofs or demonstrations by grasping which we can be said in the strict sense to know or understand (the subject of the Posterior Analytics), and, on the other hand, a long-standing interest in practices of argument like rhetoric and dialectic, and the corresponding argumentative disciplines mastery of which allows one to construct arguments suited to these practices and evaluate and respond to the arguments of other participants in them. (His versions of these disciplines are set out in the Rhetoric and Topics.) The aim of this seminar is to explore central themes in Aristotle's logic while attending to this broader context. To this end, we shall draw on material not only from the Prior Analytics, but also from the Topics, the Rhetoric and the Posterior Analytics.