Graduate Courses FALL 2020 (Term 2211)

FALL 2020

2501      Philosophy of Science (Core)
Dr. John Norton          2211      10607
Wednesday 2p.m.-4:30p.m. 1008-C CL
Cross-listed with PHIL 2600/10451
 
This seminar is an intensive and advanced introduction to some of the main themes and problems in philosophy of science including the nature of evidence, theory comparison, and the theory-observation distinction, the meaning of theoretical terms, scientific explanation and scientific change.
 
2532      History of Old Quantum Theory
Dr. Marian Gilton          2211            31719
Tuesday 9:30a.m.-12:00 p.m. 1008-C CL
 
Modern quantum mechanics emerged in the first 30 years of the twentieth century. It began with an account of the statistical physics of heat radiation by Planck in 1900, with Einstein's proposal of the light quantum in 1905 and with Bohr's 1913 account of atomic spectra. The modern theory emerged in the mid to late 1920s in researches by Heisenberg, Schroedinger, Dirac and more. This seminar will be a careful study of the historical development of quantum theory during these three decades, drawing upon both primary and secondary sources. Occasionally, special emphasis will be given to discussing the development of quantum mechanics in connection with themes in general philosophy of science (e.g. evidence, the relationship between theory and experiment, and theoretical equivalence).
 
2653      Models and Modeling in Science
Dr. Sandra Mitchell        2211   30851
Thursday 9:30a.m.-12:00p.m. G-28 CL
 
There is increasing interest in conceptualizing scientific knowledge and practice in terms of scientific models. Some (Suppes, Giere, VanFraassen) have argued for model theoretic rather than axiomatic formulations in defending a semantic account of theories. For others, models are understood in light of scientific practice, semi-autonomous from theory, or mediating between theory and observation (Morrison, Morgan). This seminar will examine recent philosophical literature on related topics including, the relation of model to theory and to observation, the nature of abstraction, idealization, analogy and isomorphism in modeling, simple or minimal models, models as fictions, and model-model relationships.
 
2658      Philosophy of Medicine
Dr. Jonathan Fuller         2211      30852
Monday 9:30a.m.-12:00p.m. G-28 CL
 
This seminar course provides a graduate level introduction to the philosophy of medicine, a fast-growing philosophical field. We will explore both classic and cutting-edge work. In line with the orientation of the field, we will examine metaphysical/conceptual and epistemic questions in medicine and medical research rather than the kinds of questions traditionally asked in the field of bioethics. Also following the contemporary focus of philosophy of medicine, readings are situated in the philosophy of science. The seminar will be organized around topics explored in a book-in-progress written by the instructor, tentatively titled The New Modern Medicine. The book explores features of contemporary medicine that make it philosophically interesting in a historical perspective compared with modern medicine of one hundred years ago. In most weeks, students will read a chapter draft along with other papers on that chapter’s main topic. Topics explored will include: the concept and nature of disease; disease causation and classification; cure, prevention and modeling disease; the epistemology of evidence-based medicine; the methodology of clinical trials; populations and individuals in epidemiology; medical skepticism and criticism; alternative medicine and the demarcation problem; and the medical model.
 
2660      Causality
Dr. James Woodward        2211      30853
Tuesday 2:00p.m.-4:30p.m. 1008-C CL
 
Over the past several decades there has been an explosion of work on causation and causal inference. Some of this work is due to philosophers (including philosophers of science) but there have also been very important developments in other disciplines, including statistics, machine learning and econometrics. This course will survey a number of these developments. Among the issues we will discuss: 1) strategies for learning causal relations from non-experimental data, 2) strategies for finding the right variables for causal analysis, particularly in connection with complex systems in which there are causal relations at different “levels”, 3) the strengths, limitations and interrelations among various devices for representing causal relations such as Bayes nets, differential equations and so on, 4) the place of causal reasoning in various scientific disciplines, including physics. We will also attempt to connect these issues with various philosophical theories of causation that are currently influential, including counterfactual accounts, causal process accounts, and regularity theories.
 
2666      Artificial Intelligence and Philosophy of Science
Dr. Colin Allen        2211      31844
Wednesday 9:30a.m.-12:00p.m. 1008-C CL
 
This course will examine developments in Artificial Intelligence (including Machine Learning) from the perspective of philosophy of science. In the first module, we will focus on acquiring or extending your technical and historical understanding of the major strands of AI/ML from the late 1950s to the present. In the second module we will consider the status of different AI/ML approaches as computational models for cognitive science. In the third module we will consider AI/ML as methods for automating scientific discovery and scientific reasoning. In the fourth and final module we will focus on the normative and value issues raised by AI/ML in various scientific and social applications.
 
 

PREVIOUS SEMESTERS

SPRING 2020

2502       History of Science 2-Core: Life Sciences & Medicine      2204       31177
Mazviita Chirimuuta/Michael Dietrich
Wednesday 9:30a.m.-12:00p.m.    G-28 CL
 
HPS 2502 is intended to be an introduction to history and historiography of the life sciences and medicine from their origins in Ancient Greece to the beginning of this century. Needless to say, to cover anything like the full range of texts, thinkers and movements in their historical and cultural settings is impossible, and the History Core Seminars don’t aim to do that.  Rather, we aim to look at a selection of texts from different periods, try to understand those texts in their historical and cultural contexts, and try to trace out historical connections between them, whenever and wherever that is possible.  The goal, then, is as much historiographicand methodological as it is historical.    The choice of topics and texts will be somewhat dependent on the interests and specialties represented by the department faculty.  This Core seminar an episodic introduction to the history of the scientific study of life, health and disease. 
 
2520       Newton     2204       31561 
Marion Gilton
Tuesday 2:00p.m.-4:30p.m.   1008-C CL
 
Newton Seminar:  This course will consider the role of Newton in the development of modern science, with a focus on his scientific methodology and legacy. We will therefore look at both some of those who came before him and some of those who came after in order to address the following questions. What was the intellectual landscape in which Newton found himself? How should we characterize the experimental and theoretical methodologies used in the Principia and the Opticks? And finally, how were variants of Newtonianism developed and received?
 
2522       Special Topics in History of Science: Human/Animal in Western Civilization      2204 31195 
Paolo Palmieri
Monday 9:30a.m.-12:00p.m.    1008-C CL
 
This seminar explores the liminality that has continually demarcated the frontier between human and animal in the history of Western civilization. We will engage diverse historical-philosophical approaches to the question of what constitutes human as opposed to animal, beginning with ancient Greek philosophy, and tracing contemporary ideas back to their origins in the Graeco-Christian worldview. We will investigate the shifting human/animal frontier during the Renaissance and the scientific revolution of the seventeenth-century, in the Enlightenment and Romanticism, and in contemporary thought. By reconstructing the genesis of human/animal debates, we will transgress the bounds of sectarian divisions between styles of thinking and become more self-conscious about history and philosophy of science as an intellectually multi-faceted form of inquiry open to pluralism and diversity.
 
2559       Thermodynamics & Statistical Mechanics   2204       31560
John Norton/David Wallace
Thursday 9:30a.m.-12:00p.m.   1008-C CL
 
This seminar will cover historical and foundational issues in thermodynamics and statistical mechanics. We will read important papers in the history, including some by Carnot, Clausius and Thomson. We will also examine foundational issues, following class interest but provisionally including Boltzmannian vs Gibbsian approaches, the notion of a reversible process in thermodynamics, the relation of thermodynamics to statistical mechanics, the origins of dynamical irreversibility, the statistical mechanics and thermodynamics of black holes, and Maxwell’s infernal demon.
 
2643       Philosophy of Climate Science   2204       32425 
Dr. Barker
Monday 2:30p.m.-5:00p.m.   1008-C CL
 
Course Description not available
 
2650       Philosophy of Psychiatry     2204       31196 
Jonathan Fuller
Thursday 2:00p.m.-4:30p.m.    G28-CL
 
In this seminar, we will survey and discuss major topics in the philosophy of psychiatry from historical and contemporary perspectives. The philosophy of psychiatry is a growing field of research that intersects with philosophy of mind, philosophy of psychology and philosophy of neuroscience. Topics to be explored include: the antipsychiatry movement and critiques of psychiatry, the history and philosophy of the DSM, the concept of mental disorder, psychiatric kinds, biological psychiatry, and explanation and reduction in psychiatry. We will also discuss philosophical problems in the context of particular mental disorders. Students will come away with an understanding of how psychiatry illuminates broader issues in the philosophical study of mind and brain and of science.
 
2687       The Epistemology of Experimental Practice    2204       31553
Sandra Mitchell
Tuesday 9:30am-12:00pm     G28-CL
 
Observation and experimentation have long been taken as central to the legitimacy of scientific claims.  Richard Feynman wrote “The test of all knowledge is experiment.  Experiment is the sole judge of scientific ‘truth’” (1963).  But how do experiments reveal the way nature is organized? In this course we will explore a range of topics in the philosophy of experiment, including underdetermination and theory-ladenness, replicability, techniques and norms of experimental practice, convergence and divergence of experimental results, the production and use of data, the relationships between experimentation, theorizing and model-building and the new challenges of digitization and big data.  This seminar will be organized as a research group where each participant will develop their own research project throughout the semester which jointly engages both the philosophical issues and particular scientific practices and results. Ongoing research reports, a final presentation of results, and an annotated bibliography will be required.