University of Pittsburgh
Graduate Courses (2008-2009)

Spring 2009

HPS 2503: History of Science II
Ted McGuire
Thursday 2-4:30 p.m.
This course is the second part of the two-part series. It will provide an overview of major developments in the sciences from the second half of the 17th century to the first half of the 20th century, considering the physical, chemical, biological, psychological, and social sciences. It will deal with the work of individuals, of general movements and their institutional and national settings. Special Permission is required for HPS majors for this course.

HPS 2522: Special Topics in History of Science: History and Philosophy of Early Calculus
Paolo Palmieri
Tuesday 9:30 a.m.-noon
This seminar explores historical and philosophical questions concerning early calculus. These questions include: Indivisibles quantities vs. infinitesimal quantities, the problem of tangents, fluxions vs. differentials, analysis/ synthesis, discovery/ emergence/ justification in mathematics.

HPS 2543 / PHIL 2105: Thomas Hobbes: Science, Psychology, Language, Mathematics, Politics and Religion
Peter K. Machamer
Tuesday 5-7:30 p.m.
An intensive look at the range of Hobbes' work. Some influential secondary sources will be examined, e.g. Leviathan and the Air Pump, Squaring the Circle, etc.

HPS 2599 / PHIL 2599: History of Behavioral Genetics
Kenneth F. Schaffner
Tuesday 2-4:30 p.m.
The history of behavioral genetics, and related philosophical issues, will be reviewed from its beginnings in 1960 to the present day. Reading materials will include original papers and secondary sources, as well as a number of oral interviews with leaders of the field. The focus will be on human studies including the IQ controversy, normal personality genetics, personality disorders, and schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s Disease. The types of studies to be reviewed include heritability analyses and conceptual problems with heritability, as well as molecular methods and problems with replicability and explanatory breadth and depth. The roles of the environment and intermediate phenotypes (endophenotypes) including brain imaging studies will be discussed.

HPS 2669 / PHIL 2681: Realism
Kyle Stanford
Thursday 9:30 a.m.-noon
Scientific realists think that on balance we have good reason to believe that our best scientific theories are at least probably and/or approximately true descriptions of how things stand in a mind-independent natural world. In this course we will begin by examining the classic statements and defenses of this view from thinkers like Boyd, Smart, and Putnam, including the so-called "Miracle" argument (viz. that the success of science would be a miracle if the theories used to achieve it were not at least approximately true). We will then consider some classic responses to this realist rationale from thinkers (like Van Frassen, Laudan, and Fine) who articulate challenges to realism from such sources as the underdetermination of theories by evidence and the pessimistic induction over the history of science and who defend various alternatives to the realist position. We will then examine the most recent round of controversies surrounding scientific realism, considering versions of realism that have been revised in sophisticated ways (by thinkers like Worrall, Kitcher, and Psillos) to address the concerns of the objectors, as well as the most recent challenges that have been raised to these views (by Stanford, naturally). I hope to conclude by exploring challenges (from Stein and Blackburn) to the idea that a nonrealist attitude towards science can even be given a coherent formulation, and by revisiting the Miracle argument to ask what if anything nonrealists are ultimately in a position to say about it.

HPS 2675 / PHIL 2660: Philosophy of Space and Time
John S. Earman / John D. Norton
Wednesday 9:30 a.m.-noon
This seminar will concentrate on problems of time. Topics will be drawn from both the philosophy literature (e.g. tensed vs. tenseless theories of time, presentism vs. eternalism, McTaggart’s argument for the unreality of time) and the philosophy of science literature (e.g. the problem of the direction of time, the relations amongst the so-called ‘arrows of time’). Attempts will be made to bring the two literatures into fruitful interaction.

HPS 2679 / PHIL 2580: Philosophy of Mathematics
Kenneth Manders
Thursday 2-4:30 p.m.
The current tradition in Epistemology of Mathematics rests on a fruitful restriction, to questions of (primarily logical and foundational) justification. After reviewing the highlights of this tradition, we motivate broader epistemological inquiry into the power of mathematical thought, and indicate avenues of approach to such questions. These involve rethinking mathematical reasoning in non-foundational, practice conceptions and taking into account the quality of representational contributions to mathematical reasoning. The course can serve as an introduction to the epistemology of mathematics. Requirements may be satisfied either by short papers or by a term paper, with prior approval of the instructor. This course will be offered as both a "Research Seminar" and a "Background Seminar".

Fall 2008

HPS 2501 / PHIL 2600: Philosophy of Science Core
Wilson, Mark
Wednesday 4-6:30 p.m.
This course will focus on central topics in general philosophy of science: explanation, confirmation, theory change, the meaning of theoretical terms, scientific realism. We shall combine a reading of some of the classic texts along with more recent work.
Prerequisites: Graduate Status

HPS 2502: History of Science I
Palmieri, Paolo
Monday 2-4:30 p.m.
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. Throughout, it should be kept in mind that a major goal of this course is the development of the skills and techniques of the historian. Specific topics treated in these survey courses vary from year-to-year and from professor-to-professor. The seminar is open to graduate students and advanced undergraduate students from other departments by permission only. Interested students should contact the professor for an interview.
Prerequisites: Graduate Status

HPS 2622 / PHIL 2625: Recent Topics in Philosophy of Science: Emergence
Mitchell, Sandra D.
Thursday 9:30 a.m.-noon
In this seminar we will look at the both the historical and contemporary writings on the character, existence, prevalence, and significance of emergent properties as studied by science. We will begin with the British Emergentists (Mill, Lewes and Broad) and end with the contemporary resurgence of interest in emergence in physics, chemistry and especially biology. Examples of purported emergence have included the liquidity and transparency of water, the Curie point of phase transition when a heated magnet abruptly loses its magnetism, or life itself “emerging” from the behavior of lifeless molecules. We will consider questions: How should we define “emergence”? What sorts of things can be emergent? Is there evidence of emergence in our world, is it objective or subjective? What kind of autonomy do emergent systems, properties, entitles display and what are the consequences for scientific explanation?
Prerequisites: Graduate Status.

HPS 2624 / PHIL 2624: Philosophy of Classical & Quantum Mechanics
Butterfield, Jeremy
Tuesday 4-6:30 p.m.
The course has two parts, roughly equal in length. The first part introduces some of the main philosophical topics about classical and quantum mechanics, and also relativity theory. For quantum theory, these will be: (i) the measurement problem, the main strategies for its solution, and the role of decoherence; (ii) quantum non-locality, especially Bell's theorems. To discuss these, the density matrix formalism will be introduced. For classical mechanics and relativity theory, the chosen topics will be:(iv) absolute vs. relational views of space and time; (v) the role of symmetry in mechanics; (vi) modality in mechanics. Here, some elementary differential geometry will be used. The second part will pursue some topics in greater depth. Topics likely to be chosen are: (a) for quantum theory: the Everett interpretation, and the identity of particles; (b) for classical mechanics: symplectic reduction, and chaos; (c) philosophical aspects of emergent phenomena in physics. The elements of classical mechanics, quantum mechanics and relativity theory will be explained as needed.
Prerequisites: Graduate Status.

HPS 2631: Method & Interpretation in Cognitive Science
Glymour, Clark
Friday 9:30 a.m.-noon
Cognitive Neuropsychology presents a variety of issues about the use of evidence, the construction of theory, strategies of inquiry, and the relations of psychology and physics. In this seminar we will consider classical neuropsychology based on clinical evidence from brain damaged subjects, focusing on what inferences about cognitive architecture can reliably be made from such data; the value of reaction time data; the role of individual cell measurements; and inferences about cognitive processes based on fMRI and other brain imaging techniques. We will also consider how psychology and biophysics do, or should interact in the explanation of human thought and judgment, and some ethical issues raised by developments of neuroscience.
Prerequisites: Graduate Status

HPS 2654: 19th Century Philosophy of Science
Lennox, James G.
Tuesday 9:30 a.m.-noon
During the 19th century there was a constant and fertile interaction between philosophers with special interests in the nature of science (Herschel, Whewell, Mill, Spencer, Compte, Bernard) and leading practitioners of the sciences of geology and biology (Lyell, Darwin). In this seminar we will examine the interactions in the 19th century between philosophical investigations of science (the nature of laws, causality, induction, evidence, theory, chance, design) and the practice of science, especially geology and biology. Of central interest will be the extent to which the rise of the historical sciences shaped philosophies of science, and how the historical sciences were influenced by the philosophical norms of that period.
Prerequisites: Graduate Status.

HPS 2658: Philosophy of Medicine
Schaffner, Kenneth F.
Tuesday, Thursday 2:30-3:45 p.m.
This course is a graduate-level introduction to philosophical issues in medicine. We will engage in critical reflection and discussion on the practice, methodologies, and science of medicine, in order to shed light both on the philosophy of medicine as well as broader issues in the philosophy of science. The topics to be covered include (1) the nature of the doctor-patient relationship in the context of the biopsychosocial and “perspectives” models, (2) the question whether diseases are objective or socially-constructed entities, (3) clinical reasoning using some simple examples from medical diagnosis and tests, (4) scientific progress and revolutions in biology and medicine, with examples from immunology, rheumatology, and HIV-AIDS virology, and (5) various issues raised by the AIDS epidemic, including a number of its ethical and social problems. Enrollment requires permission of the instructor. Graduate students will attend the lectures for the undergraduate version of this course, and have additional meetings with the instructor to discuss extra reading assignments. Graduate student requirements include doing a one-hour guest presentation in the undergraduate class, and a standard graduate term paper due at the end of the term.

HPS 2673 / PHIL 2041 / CLASS 2314: Studies in Aristotle: “Aristotle’s De motu animalium”
Falcon, Andrea
Tuesday 6-8:30 p.m.
This course is a study of Aristotle's De motu animalium. The opening lines of the treatise promise a common account of animal motion. This account is common in the sense that it applies to all the types of animal motion that there might be. Later on it becomes clear that this account implies an explanation of how the soul moves the body. This helps us to understand why Aristotle builds his account of animal motion not only on the results achieved in the general treatment of motion offered in the Physics and the study of animal life advanced in his biological works, but also on certain features of the account of the soul presented in the De anima. A careful study of the way in which the argument of the De motu animalium unfolds will shed some light on the epistemological commitments guiding Aristotle in his investigation of the natural world, as well as on the place that this short but difficult treatise occupies in Aristotle's natural science.
Prerequisites: Graduate Status.