John D. Norton


home >> teaching  
Undergraduate>> 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 20212022.  
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 20222023 Taught Fall Term 20212022 

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 20192020 in the Honors College.  
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 20172018 Taught Spring Term 20132014 Taught Spring Term 20042005. 
Graduate 

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 20232024  
HPS 2103 History and Philosophy
of Science Core Seminar Cotaught 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 20212022  
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 20202021 Taught Spring Term 20162017 Taught Fall Term 20102011 

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 2022Spring Term 2023 Organized Fall Term 2020Spring Term 2021 as HPS 2497 

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 20222023 Taught Fall Term 20202021 Taught Fall Term 20172018 Taught Fall Term 20142015 Taught Fall Term 20112012 Taught Fall Term 20092010 Taught Fall Term 20062007. 

HPS 2559
Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics Cotaught with David Wallace This seminar covers historical and foundational issues in thermodynamics and statistical mechanics. 
Taught Spring Term 201920  
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 20172018  
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 20152016 Spring 2004 

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 20132014  
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 20122013  
HPS 2675
Philosophy of Space
and Time Phil 2660 Cotaught 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 socalled ‘arrows of time’). We try to bring the two
literatures into fruitful interaction. 
Taught Spring term 20082009  
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  
HPS 2534 General Relativity
and Gravitation Fall 2007
Cotaught 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 20072008  
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 inseminar ballot. 
Taught Fall Term 20042005.  
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=mc^{2}; and his light quantum paper. 
Taught Spring term 20032004.  
Guest Teaching 

Phil 2677
Foundations of Quantum Field Theory Instructor: Giovanni Valente 
Spring Term, Wednesday March 20, 2013.  
HPS 2497 Teaching Practicum  Taught annually.  
HPS 2102 History of Science Core  Einstein day: April 19, 2023 