University of Pittsburgh
Undergraduate Courses (2011-12)

Spring 2012

HPS 0410: Einstein: Modern Science & Surprises
Dr. John D. Norton
M & W 12-12:50 p.m.
Do astronauts age more slowly? Can a finite universe have no edge? Is time travel possible? Can time have a beginning? Does the moon change because a mouse looks at it? Surprisingly, modern science answers yes to all these questions. This course provides simple-to-understand explanations of these and other related questions, their broader philosophical significance and their histories. The course is suitable for students with no science background but with an interest in the world of modern science.

HPS 0427 / CLASS 0330: Myth and Science
Dr. James G. Lennox
T & Th 9:30-10:45 a.m.
The Greeks in the sixth to fourth century B.C. initiated forms of thinking we have from then on called "scientific" and "philosophical". This course examines the question of how science is distinguished from "non-science" by studying the role of myth and science in ancient Greece. The aim is to understand what distinguishes the ideas of the first scientists and philosophers from the earlier beliefs called myth.

HPS 0427 / CLASS 0330: Myth and Science
Peter Distelzweig
W 6-8:30 p.m.
The Greeks in the sixth to fourth century B.C. initiated forms of thinking we have from then on called "scientific" and "philosophical". This course examines the question of how science is distinguished from "non-science" by studying the role of myth and science in ancient Greece. The aim is to understand what distinguishes the ideas of the first scientists and philosophers from the earlier beliefs called myth.

HPS 0515 / HIST 0089: Magic, Medicine and Science
Benjamin Goldberg
M 6-8:30 p.m.
This course will survey some important strands in the Western intellectual history, from the Ancient Greeks to the Scientific Revolution. We will begin with ancient Greek speculations in cosmology, philosophy, and medicine. Then we will look at how they develop in subsequent times. These include, among other topics, the magical and astrological traditions that flourished during the Renaissance. The last part of the course will focus on the intellectual transformations in the 17th Century, which constitute the beginnings of modern science. The great scientific achievements of figures such as Galileo, Kepler, Descartes, and Newton will be discussed. Overall, this course is meant to provide a broad picture of the history of some of the most important elements in the Western intellectual tradition. NO recitation.

HPS 0515 / HIST 0089: Magic, Medicine and Science
Dr. Paolo Palmieri
M & W 2-2:50 p.m.
This course introduces students from all backgrounds to humanistic ecology, an interdisciplinary method of learning which combines the humanities with science. Humanistic ecology teaches how to integrate scientific research, philosophy, pedagogy, literature, and health in a holistic framework. Students will learn about classical forms of self-transformation, healing, and knowing that will help them find original pathways to knowledge and wellbeing. One hour recitation required.

HPS 0605: Nature of Emotions
Dr. Edouard Machery
M & W 3-3:50 p.m.
This course will examine selected historically important theories and portrayals of the human emotions or passions. The course will examine different accounts of love, hate, desire, anger, jealousy, pride, grief, etc., ie. the affective dimension of human existence. It will look at how these dimensions of experience relate to ideas of reason, control, the will, decorum, and morality, and our knowledge of the "sciences" of human beings. A number of questions will guide the readings and discussions. Which emotions or passions are primitive? In what are the emotions grounded: the body, the mind, the spirit? Can these even be usefully distinguished? What is the structure of human emotions and how do they function? What are the relations among emotions, personality types and behavior? Can one learn to recognize emotions, control emotions, change the way emotions affect behavior? How can one test or validate theories about emotions? And finally, it is clear that theories and beliefs about human emotions change over time; does this mean that the nature of, say, anger, has changed over time? The course will rely mostly on primary source material, written by persons who have had a recognized intellectual and social impact.

HPS 0608 / PHIL 0610: Philosophy and Science (Lecture)
Dr. Giovanni Valente
M & W 1-1:50 p.m.
What is the relation between philosophy and science? On the one hand, the discoveries by scientists are often inspired by philosophical ideas. On the other hand, scientific achievements often pose deep conceptual questions to philosophers. The connection between these disciplines is thus so tied that it may become difficult to even draw a border between them. This course explores such a connection through the study of important episodes in the history of science. Specific issues of philosophy of science, such as scientific progress, confirmation and the method of science, will be addressed.

HPS 0609 / PHIL 0612: Philosophy and Science (Writing Practicum)
Dr. Giovanni Valente
T & Th 10-10:50 a.m. or T & Th 12-12:50 p.m.
Description same as PHIL 0610. This is the writing section of PHIL 0610. The course description and lectures are the same. Writing sections have two meetings in addition to the two lectures each week. Recitation sections provide an opportunity to discuss lecture material and get advice on writing, both of which are important in philosophy.

HPS 0610: Causal Reasoning
Karen Zwier
T & Th 6-7:15 p.m.
Newspapers often report on “studies” addressing causal questions. Topics range from what causes global warming, to what causes heart disease, to whether the death penalty deters criminals, to whether playing violent video games causes aggression, to whether school vouchers improve achievement, etc. These studies not only make their way into your newspaper, they ultimately affect public policy. In order to make rational decisions about your own life, and about matters of social policy, you must be able to assess critically—even if informally—the causal and statistical reasoning used in these reports. This course aims to provide you with the knowledge and skill to do just that. The material in this course examines the nature of causal claims and the statistical sorts of evidence used to support them. It contains the concepts with which to understand the scientific reasoning that underlies the “studies” that shape our social policies. There will be two class sessions each week, and during the latter portion of the semester, one of the sessions will be held in a computer lab, where we work with "Causality Lab" software. NOTE: In the past, this course has used an online textbook and quizzes, but due to problems in the past with the online interface, this iteration will instead use course packets distributed by the instructor.

HPS 0611: Principles of Scientific Reasoning
Elizabeth O'Neill
M 6-8:30 p.m.
The course will provide students with elementary logic skills and an understanding of scientific arguments. Ours is an increasingly scientific and technical society. In both our personal life decisions and in our work we are daily confronted by scientific results which influence what we do and how we do it. Basic skills in analyzing the structure of arguments in terms of truth and evidence are required to make this type of information accessible and useful. We hear, for example, that drinking alcoholic beverages reduces the chances of heart disease. We might well ask what sorts of tests were done to reach this conclusion and do the tests really justify the claim? We read that certain geographical configurations in South America "prove" that this planet was visited by aliens from outer space. Does this argument differ from other, accepted scientific arguments? This course is designed to aid the student in making sense of a variety of elementary logic skills in conjunction with the application of those skills to actual cases.

HPS 0612: Mind and Medicine
Dr. James F. Woodward
M & W 1-1:50 p.m.
This course is designed as an introduction to the philosophical issues that exist at the intersection of psychology and medicine. Among others, we will examine the following questions: What does it mean to be healthy? Can one define health and sickness purely objectively? Should human medical judgments (e.g., clinicians’ judgments) be replaced by purely automatic, computerized procedures? What is the nature of medical expertise? Are medical judgments influenced by various biases and can these biases be overcome? Are psychiatric disorders real? How should scientists explain psychiatric disorders? How much do we learn about them by studying animals (e.g., rats)? Can evolutionary biology be useful to psychiatry? The goal of this class is to provide students with a critical understanding of these philosophical issues. Previous knowledge of biology, psychology, and medicine is not needed for this class. Key notions and theories in these fields will be introduced progressively. Prerequisites: There are no formal prerequisites for this course. This course is part of a core sequence leading to certification in the Conceptual Foundations of Medicine Program, and is a companion course to HPS 0613 (Morality and Medicine) but may be taken independently. This course is of particular interest to pre-medical and pre-health care students. Recitation: One hour a week.

HPS 0613: Morality and Medicine
Aleta Quinn
Th 6-8:30 p.m.
Ethical dilemmas in the practice of health care continue to proliferate and receive increasing attention from members of the health care profession, ethicists, policy makers, and the general public as health care consumers. In this course we will examine a number of ethical issues that arise in the context of contemporary medical practice and research by analyzing articles and decision scenarios. Topics to be covered typically include the physician-patient relationship; informed consent; medical experimentation; termination of treatment; genetics; reproductive technologies; euthanasia; resource allocation; and health care reform. Students who successfully complete this course will be able to identify and analyze different philosophical approaches to selected issues in medical ethics; have gained insight into how to read and critically interpret philosophical arguments; and have developed skills that will enable them to think clearly about ethical questions as future or current health care providers, policy makers, and consumers. This course is part of a core sequence leading to certification in the Conceptual Foundations of Medicine Certificate Program, and is a companion course to HPS 0612 (Mind and Medicine) but may be taken independently. The course is of particular interest to pre-medical and pre-health care students.

HPS 0621: Problem Solving
Eric Hatleback
M 7-9:30 p.m. (Mt. Lebanon)
Th 6-8:30 p.m. (Oakland)
A scientist announces that the sun contains a new, so far unknown chemical element, even though there is no hope of getting a sample. Another is sure that a famous predecessor has faked his data, even though he has seen nothing but the perfect, published results. Astonishingly, both claims prove to be sober and sound. We will explore the approaches and methods that make such miracles part of the routine of everyday science. This course is intended for students with little or no background in science.

HPS 1508: Classics in History of Science
Dr. Paolo Palmieri
M & W 3-4:15 p.m.
Four hundred years ago Galileo Galilei aimed a telescope at the sky. He revolutionized astronomy. Equally revolutionary were his theories and experiments in physics, published in his masterpiece Two New Sciences. In this course we will learn why Galileo’s theories and experiments in physics were revolutionary. We will read Galileo’s Two New Sciences, setting it in the context of the history and philosophy of Western science and civilization. There are no prerequisites.

HPS 1605: Aesthetics and Science
Dr. Peter K. Machamer
M & W 4:30-5:45 p.m.
What are the experiences that affect our appreciation of literature, painting, or music? Does knowing about a work of art preclude deeply appreciating it? Is there a peculiar aesthetic experience? Is beauty in the eye of the beholder? Is smut? This course examines certain psychological and social aspects of human perception and thought as they relate to various arts. We will deal with how the psychological processes of perception and cognition can help us understand a person’s peculiar attraction to artworks. Is there a specific cultural or social dimension to works of art? Can we explain why humans react to and evaluate the works they do? How much is emotion? How much understanding? Movies, literature, painting, music, poetry, and cookery will be examined. In doing so we will explore the concepts of metaphor, interpretation, and artistic style.

HPS 1616: Artificial Intelligence & Philosophy of Science
Dr. Mazviita Chirimuuta
T & Th 11 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.
This course deals with artificial intelligence and more generally with cognitive science, the scientific disciplines that since the 1950s have sought to understand the nature of mind through comparisons with man-made information processing devices. The course will include an overview of one or more fields of research and of one or more conceptual or methodological debates that has resulted from work in that field or fields. Topics covered in any one year may include the classicism/connectionism debate, approaches to naturalizing intentionality, the problem of consciousness, evolutionary psychology, and embodied cognition.

HPS 1682 / PHIL 1682: Freedom and Determination
Dr. Karen Boxer
M & W 3-4:15 p.m.
The free will debate is as old as philosophy itself; despite this, it is no closer to resolution today than it was 2500 years ago. This course will examine some of the central questions in that debate: Is free will compatible with determinism? Does it require the ability to have done otherwise than what we actually did? How are we to understand this ability? Must we be the ultimate sources of our own actions? Is this notion even coherent? If not, where does this leave us? Related questions concerning the topic of moral responsibility will also be explored.

HPS 1690 / PHIL 1690: Topics in Philosophy of Science
Dr. Giovanni Valente
M & W 4:30-5:45 p.m.
The birth of quantum mechanics at the eve of the twentieth century marked a revolution in our classical understanding of the physical world. Such a theory successfully accounts for the phenomena taking place at the microscopic level. Yet, what the theory tells us about fundamental reality is still far from clear. This course focuses on the philosophical problem arising from quantum mechanics. In particular, we shall discuss various interpretations of the theory. Particular emphasis will be given to the issue of non-locality arising from the notion of entanglement, which is responsible for some surprising phenomena, such as quantum teleportation.

HPS 1702: Junior/Senior Seminar: Unsimple Truths
Dr. Sandra Mitchell
Th 9:30 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Complex structures, their behavior and properties, do not fit comfortably into the accounts of scientific explanation, experimental inference, and prescriptions for rational policy that have been developed by centuries of philosophical analysis. In this seminar we will look at how complexity challenges some standard views. We will begin with some 19th century accounts of scientific method that attempted to capture Newtonian method. Then we will turn to contemporary science and investigate the issues of reduction and emergence, how to think about laws and explanation, causal inference from controlled experiments, and finally how we can use what we learn about complex systems to make public policy.

HPS 1703: Writing Workshop for HPS Majors
Dr. Sandra Mitchell
Th 9:30 a.m. - 12 p.m.
This writing workshop is designed to introduce HPS majors to the methods and standards of good scholarly writing in History and Philosophy of Science. It will be offered to HPS majors only in conjunction with HPS 1702, JR/SR Seminar. Evaluation will be based on two short papers that will be rewritten on the basis of the instructor's comments. This course is for HPS Majors in their Junior or Senior Year.

Fall 2011

HPS 0427 / CLASS 0330: Myth and Science
Marcus Adams
T 6-8:30 p.m.
How can we understand our world? In western culture, science dominates all our answers to this question. But there are other ways. They can be found in the mythologies of ancient and modern peoples. This course will compare the scientific and mythological ways of seeing the world and their more subtle connections. In particular, we will turn to the remarkable events in Ancient Greece of 800-400 B.C. and discover how the scientific approach actually grew slowly out of mythological thought itself.

HPS 0430: Galileo & Creation of Modern Science
Dr. Paolo Palmieri
T & Th 9:30-10:45 a.m.
The Italian physicist and astronomer Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) was the decisive figure in the rise of modern science. First, he ushered in a new era in astronomy when he aimed a 30-powered telescope at the sky in 1610. Second, he revolutionized the concept of science when he argued that the book of nature is written in the language of mathematics. Finally, he astounded the theologians, who eventually condemned him to life imprisonment, when he claimed that the scientist's search for the truth cannot be constrained by religious authority. This course will study Galileo in the broader intellectual, social, and religious context of early modern Europe.

HPS 0515 / HIST 0089: Magic, Medicine and Science
Peter Distelzweig
T 6-8:30 p.m.
This course is a partial survey of some important strands in the Western intellectual history. We will start with ancient Greek speculations in cosmology, philosophy, and medicine. Then we will look at some important subsequent developments in these areas and how they were influenced by the Greek tradition. These include, among other topics, the magical tradition that flourished during the Renaissance period. The latter half of the course will focus on the profound intellectual transformations in the 17th century which constitute what we often call The Scientific Revolution. The great scientific achievements of figures such as Descartes, Kepler, Galileo, and Newton will be discussed in detail. Overall, this course is meant to provide a broad picture of some of the most important elements in the Western intellectual tradition and their interactions in history.

HPS 0515 / HIST 0089: Magic, Medicine and Science
Eric Hatleback
T & Th 11 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.
This course is a partial survey of some important strands in the Western intellectual history. We will start with ancient Greek speculations in cosmology, philosophy, and medicine. Then we will look at some important subsequent developments in these areas and how they were influenced by the Greek tradition. These include, among other topics, the magical tradition that flourished during the Renaissance period. The latter half of the course will focus on the profound intellectual transformations in the 17th century which constitute what we often call The Scientific Revolution. The great scientific achievements of figures such as Descartes, Kepler, Galileo, and Newton will be discussed in detail. Overall, this course is meant to provide a broad picture of some of the most important elements in the Western intellectual tradition and their interactions in history.

HPS 0611: Principles of Scientific Reasoning
Jason Byron
M 6-8:30 p.m.
The course will provide students with elementary logic skills and an understanding of scientific arguments. Ours is an increasingly scientific and technical society. In both our personal life decisions and in our work we are daily confronted by scientific results which influence what we do and how we do it. Basic skills in analyzing the structure of arguments in terms of truth and evidence are required to make this type of information accessible and useful. We hear, for example, that drinking alcoholic beverages reduces the chances of heart disease. We might well ask what sorts of tests were done to reach this conclusion and do the tests really justify the claim? We read that certain geographical configurations in South America "prove" that this planet was visited by aliens from outer space. Does this argument differ from other, accepted scientific arguments? This course is designed to aid the student in making sense of a variety of elementary logic skills in conjunction with the application of those skills to actual cases.

HPS 0613: Morality and Medicine
Dr. Kenneth F. Schaffner
M & W 2-2:50 p.m.
Ethical dilemmas in the practice of health care continue to proliferate and receive increasing attention from members of the health care profession, ethicists, policy makers, and the general public as health care consumers. In this course we will examine a number of ethical issues that arise in the context of contemporary medical practice and research by analyzing articles and decision scenarios. Topics to be covered typically include the physician-patient relationship; informed consent; medical experimentation; termination of treatment; genetics; reproductive technologies, including cloning and stem cells; euthanasia, including the recent Sciavo case; resource allocation; and health care reform. Students who successfully complete this course will be able to identify and analyze different philosophical approaches to selected issues in medical ethics; have gained insight into how to read and critically interpret philosophical arguments; and have developed skills that will enable them to think clearly about ethical questions as future or current health care providers, policy makers, and consumers.
This course is part of a core sequence leading to certification in the Conceptual Foundations of Medicine Certificate Program, and is a companion course to HPS 0612 (Mind and Medicine) but may be taken independently. The course is of particular interest to pre-medical and pre-health care students.
Recitation: One hour a week.

HPS 0613: Morality and Medicine
Benjamin Goldberg
M 6-8:30 p.m.
Ethical dilemmas in the practice of health care continue to proliferate and receive increasing attention from members of the health care profession, ethicists, policy makers, and the general public as health care consumers. In this course we will examine a number of ethical issues that arise in the context of contemporary medical practice and research by analyzing articles and decision scenarios. Topics to be covered typically include the physician-patient relationship; informed consent; medical experimentation; termination of treatment; genetics; reproductive technologies, including cloning and stem cells; euthanasia, including the recent Sciavo case; resource allocation; and health care reform. Students who successfully complete this course will be able to identify and analyze different philosophical approaches to selected issues in medical ethics; have gained insight into how to read and critically interpret philosophical arguments; and have developed skills that will enable them to think clearly about ethical questions as future or current health care providers, policy makers, and consumers.
This course is part of a core sequence leading to certification in the Conceptual Foundations of Medicine Certificate Program, and is a companion course to HPS 0612 (Mind and Medicine) but may be taken independently. The course is of particular interest to pre-medical and pre-health care students.

HPS 0621: Problem Solving
Karen Zwier
M & W 4:30-5:45 p.m.
This course is intended to provide an introduction to science and scientific thinking for students who have not had much contact with science. Its goal is to explain what is distinctive about the scientific approach and its product, scientific theories. The emphasis will be on quantitative approaches and on showing how the use of number in science greatly extends the reach of our investigative tools. The course is divided into three parts: (1) A general inquiry into the problems scientists face in their investigations of nature and the techniques commonly used to overcome them; (2) An introduction to the science of thermodynamics as an example of how theories are constructed and can be applied to practical situations in real life; and (3) An introduction to statistical analysis and its uses in dealing with scientific data.

HPS 0621: Problem Solving
Elay Shech
T 6-8:30 p.m.
A scientist announces that the sun contains a new, so-far unknown chemical element, even though there is no hope of getting a sample. Another is sure that a famous predecessor has faked his data, even though he has seen nothing but the perfect, published results. Astonishingly, both claims prove to be sober and sound. We will explore the approaches and methods that make such miracles part of the routine of everyday science. This course is intended for students with little or no background in science.

HPS 0623: Explanations of Humans and Society
Dr. Peter K. Machamer
M & W 2-2:50 p.m.
This course will look at some of the original writings of the three "giants" of modern psychology: Freud, Skinner and Piaget. The three movements of psychoanalysis, behaviorism and developmental cognition will be explored through their most articulate and well known proponents. Topics to be discussed include the nature of the emotions, the structures of behavior and the forms of human thought. Specifically, we will discuss how the concepts of desire, love, jealousy, homosexuality, skilled actions, language, and logical and moral reasoning can be used to understand human beings.

HPS 0626: Development of Modern Biology (COURSE HAS BEEN CANCELED)
Thomas Cunningham
T & Th 1-2:15 p.m.

HPS 0633: Science, Philosophy and Public Policy
Dr. Heather Douglas
T & Th 4-5:15 p.m.
How should we assess claims of scientific experts central to public policy disputes? How should science shape public policy and how should public policy shape science? Answering these questions requires an understanding of both the nature of science and the nature of public policy in a democratic context. We will examine how scientists develop empirical knowledge and how a nonscientist might assess scientific claims. And we will discuss what makes an issue a public policy issue, and how scientific expertise has become central to both the recognition of and the resolution of public policy issues. We will read recent books on science policy issues to illuminate these topics.

HPS 1531: Man and the Cosmos (COURSE HAS BEEN CANCELED)
Eric Hatleback
T & Th 11 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.

HPS 1612 / PHIL 1612: Philosophy of 20th Century Physics
Dr. Giovanni Valente
M & W 4:30-5:45 p.m.
The Twentieth century was an unprecedented revolutionary time in the history of physics. The formulation of both Einstein’s theories of relativity and quantum mechanics radically changed our understanding of the physical world. This course surveys the development of the theories of Special and General Relativity and discusses the major philosophical issues stemming from them. In particular, we focus on the unification of the classical notions of space and time into the relativistic concept of spacetime. All the necessary technical background will be provided in class. A course on the philosophy of quantum mechanics will be instructed in the Spring semester.

HPS 1625: Philosophy of Medicine (Honors College)
Dr. Kenneth F. Schaffner
T & Th 2:30-3:45 p.m.
This course is an introduction to philosophical issues in medicine, including psychiatry. The topics to be covered include (1) the nature of the doctor-patient relationship in the context of the biopsychosocial and “perspectives” (including narrative) models, and the issue of patient as body or person (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 “Kuhnian” revolutions in biology and medicine, with examples from immunology, psychiatry, rheumatology, and HIV-AIDS virology, and (5) an extensive treatment of various issues raised by the AIDS epidemic, including a number of its ethical and social problems. There are no prerequisites for this course.

HPS 1653: Introduction to Philosophy of Science
Dr. James F. Woodward
M & W 1-1:50 p.m.
This course will provide a broad survey of a number of important issues in philosophy of science. Topics will include the distinction between science and other forms of human knowledge, the nature of scientific theories, theories of scientific method, the growth of scientific knowledge over time, the ways in which scientific claims are tested and supported by evidence, and the sense, if any, in which science provides explanation or understanding.

HPS 1800: Special Topics in HPS: Three Biological Revolutions
Dr. James G. Lennox
M & W 3-4:15 p.m.
In the 17th century, William Harvey revolutionized our understanding of the movement of the heart and blood, and declared “Aristotle is my leader…”. Approximately two centuries later, Charles Darwin revolutionized the scientific study of life with his theory of evolution by natural selection, and declared: “Linnaeus and Cuvier have been my two gods, though in very different ways, but they were mere school boys to old Aristotle.” In HPS 1508 we will begin by looking back, as these two giants did, to the very origins of the scientific study of life, Aristotle, to learn what it was that so impressed Harvey and Darwin. We will then study Harvey’s great work On the movement of the heart and blood in animals with the following question in mind: how could one of the great experimentalists of the scientific revolution consider himself a follower of Aristotle? And finally, we will turn to On the Origin of Species, the great work in which Darwin presented his ‘long argument’ for the theory of evolution by means of natural selection. Throughout our goal will be to understand the nature of revolutionary advances in the biological sciences--how they both build on and advance beyond earlier achievements.