home >> teaching


>> Graduate
HPS 0410 Einstein for Everyone

Somehow what Einstein did seems to have changed everything. Or at least that is the impression you get in almost every field of thought that looks at things at a really fundamental level. But how is someone who doesn't know much physics to figure out if this or that moral really is vindicated by Einstein's work? This course covers just enough of Einstein's work at an elementary level to help answer.
Taught frequently; most recently, Spring Term 2021-2022.
HPS 0628 Paradox

Infinity and chance are dangerous notions that can lead us to deep puzzlement and baffling paradoxes. Careful examination of them allows us to see past the paradoxes to a clear and controlled understanding of what was once perplexing and unapproachable.
Taught Spring Term 2022-2023
Taught Fall Term 2021-2022
HPS 1632 Einstein for Almost Everyone

This is a companion to HPS 0410. It surveys Einstein's work at a more advanced level, including technical details according to the capacities of the students in the class.
Taught Fall Term 2019-2020 in the Honors College.
capstone HPS 1702/1703 Junior Senior Seminar for HPS Majors and Writing Workshop

This upper level undergraduate seminar is a "capstone" seminar for HPS undergraduate majors intended to give them experience at synthesizing history of science with philosophy of science. It combines a survey of the philosophy of science literature on induction and confirmation with case studies in history of science
Taught Spring Term 2017-2018
Taught Spring Term 2013-2014
Taught Spring Term 2004-2005.


>> Undergraduate

HPS 2156 Empiricism in Science

In the early twentieth century, empiricist philosophies of science became influential. This seminar will survey the earlier history of these philosophies, their early twentieth century expressions, their later developments and consequences.
Taught Spring Term 2023-2024
HPS 2103 History and Philosophy of Science Core Seminar

Co-taught with Michael Dietrich

This core seminar in integrated history and philosophy of science, is a graduate introduction to important topics, methods, and skills in for scholarship that successfully integrates history of science and philosophy of science.
Taught Spring Term 2021-2022
die with words HPS 2682       Theories of Confirmation

Science is distinguished from other investigations of nature in that the claims of mature sciences are strongly supported by empirical evidence. Theories of confirmation provide accounts of this relation of inductive support. We shall review the range of theories of confirmation, including formal and less formal approaches. The review will be critical; none of them is entirely successful. The theories will be tested against significant cases of the use of evidence in science.
Taught Spring Term 2020-2021
Taught Spring Term 2016-2017
Taught Fall Term 2010-2011
Hideke Yukawa 1949 HPS 2000 Teaching Practicum

This is a survey course designed specifically for teaching assistants and fellows in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science. The focus will be on practical teaching methods and techniques used in classroom recitations and lectures.
Organized Fall Term 2022-Spring Term 2023
Organized Fall Term 2020-Spring Term 2021 as HPS 2497
cartoonized clock HPS 2101/Philosophy 2600 Philosophy of Science

This seminar is our graduate program's "core" introductory, seminar in philosophy of science for graduate students entering the department's graduate program and for graduate students in the Department of Philosophy.
Taught Fall Term 2022-2023
Taught Fall Term 2020-2021
Taught Fall Term 2017-2018
Taught Fall Term 2014-2015
Taught Fall Term 2011-2012
Taught Fall Term 2009-2010
Taught Fall Term 2006-2007.
HPS 2559 Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics

Co-taught with David Wallace

This seminar covers historical and foundational issues in thermodynamics and statistical mechanics.
Taught Spring Term 2019-20

HPS 2580 Cosmology

This seminar explores the historical origins of modern cosmology and foundational issues of philosophical interest with an emphasis on these new developments.

Taught Spring Term 2017-2018
Little Einstein HPS 2814 Einstein

This seminar covers Einstein's work in physics and his philosophical entanglements, with topics selected according to the interests of the seminar participants.
Taught Spring Term 2023

Taught earlier as HPS 2509
Fall Term 2015-2016
Spring 2004
galaxy HPS 2626/Phil 2626
Topics in Recent Philosophy of Physics

This seminar covers recent topics in philosophy of physics, drawing on suitable issues in quantum, relativistic and statistical physics, according to the interests of the participants.
Taught Fall Term 2013-2014
matrix image HPS 2523 History of Quantum Mechanics

This seminar traces the emergence in the mid 1920s of the "new quantum theory" from the "old quantum theory" that preceded it.
Taught Fall Term 2012-2013
clock HPS 2675       Philosophy of Space and Time
Phil 2660

Co-taught with John Earman

This seminar is concentrated on problems of time. Topics are drawn from the philosophy literature: tensed vs. tenseless theories of time, presentism vs. eternalism, McTaggart’s argument for the unreality of time; and from the philosophy of science literature:. the problem of the direction of time, the relations amongst the so-called ‘arrows of time’). We try to bring the two literatures into fruitful interaction.

Taught Spring term 2008-2009
hotel GSSPP08 - Geneva Summer School in the Philosophy of Physics 2008

This summer school is offered to doctoral students and postdoctoral scholars in philosophy of physics and is based loosely on the topic "What is the Nature of Space and Time?" My lectures cover causation in physics, determinism in classical physics and Einstein's method in his discovery of general relativity.

Summer 2008
Conformal diagram HPS 2534 General Relativity and Gravitation Fall 2007

Co-taught with John Earman

This seminar will survey historical and foundational issues in classical general relativity theory. Depending on seminar interest, we will look at Einstein's discovery of genreal relativity; the causal structure of spacetime; the initial value problem; the "hole argument", and the status of general covariance; and spacetime singularities.In general relativistic cosmology, we may look at the discovery of modern, relativistic cosmology; the "horizon problem" and the genesis of inflationary cosmology; accelerating expansion and "dark energy"; and the multiverse and anthropic selection.

Taught Fall Term 2007-2008

HPS 2626 Recent Topics in Philosopohy of Physics

This graduate seminar is devoted to reading recent topics in philosophy of physics. The choice of topics was determined by an in-seminar ballot.
Taught Fall Term 2004-2005.

HPS 2509 Einstein 1905

This graduate seminar is devoted to studying the work of Einstein's annus mirabilis, 1905. It was the year in which he published his investigations on the reality of atoms (Doctoral dissertation, Brownian motion); his papers on special relativity and E=mc2; and his light quantum paper.
Taught Spring term 2003-2004.

Guest Teaching

>> Undergraduate
>> Graduate

Phil 2677 Foundations of Quantum Field Theory
Instructor: Giovanni Valente
Spring Term, Wednesday March 20, 2013.

HPS 2497 Teaching Practicum Taught annually.
Little Einstein HPS 2102 History of Science Core Einstein day: April 19, 2023