University of Pittsburgh
Undergraduate Courses (2012-2013)

Spring 2013

HPS 0410: Einstein
Dr. John D. Norton
M & W 10:00-10:50
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
Elay Shech
Wednesday 6:00-8:30
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 0437: Darwinism and its Critics
Dr. James Lennox
M & W 11:00-11:50
Charles Darwin's ideas not only revolutionized biology - they also have revolutionary implications for how we see ourselves and our place in nature. We will study the origins and development of Darwin's ideas, and the reactions of the scientific, religious and philosophic community to them from Darwin's time to our own. The course revolves around two central questions: (1) What is the scientific status of Darwinism? (2) What are the implications of Darwinism for our beliefs about human nature? We will spend the last few weeks of the term looking in detail at a variety of contemporary critics of Darwinism. One hour recitation required.

HPS 0515 / HIST 0089: Magic, Medicine and Science
Peter Distelzweig
Monday 6:00-8:30
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 0089/12085: Magic, Medicine and Science
Dr. Peter Machamer
M & W 4:00-4:50
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 0608 / PHIL 0610/21382: Philosophy of Science
Dr. Giovanni Valente
M & W 1:00-1:50
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 0612/21389: Philosophy of Science with Practicum
Dr. Giovanni Valente
M & W 1:00-1:50 and T & H 10:00-10:50
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.
Writing Practicum: 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 0609 / PHIL 0612/21390: Philosophy of Science with Practicum
Dr. Giovanni Valente
M & W 1:00-1:50 and T & H 12:00-12:50
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.
Writing Practicum: 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, Web Based
Greg Gandenberger
Tuesday 6-8:30 p.m.
Do school vouchers really help inner city students become better educated? Do gun control laws really make society safer? This course examines how scientists reason about causal claims like these. It considers use of scientific statistical data that informs our public policy debates. The course uses an interactive, web-based text and exams. In addition, there is an on-line virtual "Causality Lab" in which students will set up, run, and then analyze simulated experiments. They will construct causal theories, use the lab to derive predictions from these theories, and then test the predictions against the simulated data. While course materials are delivered on-line, students will still attend two sessions per week; one for addressing questions about the material and the second for case study analysis.

HPS 0611: Principles of Scientific Reasoning
Yoichi Ishida
Monday 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 Woodward
M & W 12-12:50
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
Joseph McCaffrey
Monday 6:00-8:30
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
Bihui Li
Thursday 6:00-8:30
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 0700: History and Philosophy of Musical Science
Dr. Paolo Palmieri
T & H 9:30-10:45
Do you really love music? Musical science teaches you why! In this course, you will learn about musical science in antiquity, music in the scientific revolution, musical science and aesthetics, animal music, psychoacoustics, and the nature of harmony. Musical science has shaped the history of human civilization. It has informed not only hearing but thinking. This course focuses on reading historical and philosophical texts, listening to sound and music, and a hands-on approach to learning.

HPS 1508: Classics in History of Science: Ancient Science
Dr. Joyce van Leeuwen
T & H 4:00-5:15
The origins of Western science can be traced back to ancient Greek culture. Whereas in the earliest Greek texts natural phenomena are often linked to the activities of the gods and mythological explanations play an important role, later authors explain natural phenomena more and more in rational terms. These different interpretations should not be regarded as separate developments, but they belong to a long tradition, in which authors respond to the ideas and observations of their predecessors. In this course we will read selected passages from different fields of ancient Greek science, like mathematics, mechanics, meteorology, and medicine. We will consider the question of how these different texts are connected with each other and we will set them in their cultural and philosophical contexts. Moreover, we will discuss the various explanatory models applied by the ancient authors.

HPS 1602: Race: History, Biology, Psychology, Philosophy
Dr. Edouard Machery
M & W 3:00-4:15
The goal of this course is to help students gain a thorough understanding of the issues raised by races and racism. Such understanding can only be gained by bringing together several disciplines in an interdisciplinary manner. Thus, we will examine issues about race and racism that arise from biology, history, philosophy, and psychology. In particular, we will examine the following questions: Does genetics show that races are real? Why are racial categories used in medicine? Where does the concept of race come from? Is it a recent historical invention? How has it influenced the sciences? What are races? What is racism? Should we be color-blind? How does race contribute to one's identity? Why do we think about races? Are there differences in intelligence between races? What are racial prejudices? The course will involve reading original articles and book extracts from a range of disciplines, including history, philosophy, and several sciences. These articles will be explained and discussed in class.

HPS 1612 / PHIL 1612/37348: Philosophy of 20th Century Physics
Dr. Eleanor Knox T & H 11:00-12:15
This course will look at conceptual and philosophical issues that arise in contemporary physics. The first part of the course will focus on special relativity and its consequences for our conception of space and time. Topics will include the unification of space and time, the conventionality of simultaneity, and special relativity's consequences for the nature of time. The second (longer) part of the course will introduce quantum mechanics. We'll look at the 'measurement problem' and issues of non-locality, and survey ways in which we might interpret or modify both quantum mechanics itself and our epistemology and metaphysics to accommodate these. All necessary technical background will be covered in the course.

HPS 1625: Philosophy of Medicine
Dr. Kenneth Schaffner
T & H 2:30-3:45
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" 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 1690 / PHIL 1690/21430: Topics in Philosophy of Science
Dr. Robert Batterman
M & W 3:00-4:15
This class will examine issues about explanation, reduction, and emergence in science. Questions to be addressed include the following: In what way do our theories explain? How are theories related to one another? For instance, thermodynamics describes the behavior of fluids and gases in terms of pressure, temperature, volume, and entropy. This theory virtually ignores the fact that fluids and gases are composed of atoms and molecules. How is the theory of thermodynamics related to the laws and theories that govern the (atomic and molecular) components that compose the fluids and gases? Much interest in recent years has been focused on questions of what counts as emergent phenomena. Are the properties and behaviors of systems characterized by, say, thermodynamics, emergent? What does emergence mean? What is the proper way to think about the connections.

HPS 1702: JR/SR Seminar for HPS Majors: A Science of Consciousness
Dr. Mazviita Chirimuuta
Wednesday 10:00-12:30
The goal of this course is to introduce you to cutting-edge research in history and philosophy of science. We focus on a particular issue in the philosophy of psychology and neuroscience - whether there can be a science of consciousness. It is now orthodoxy that consciousness and all other characteristic features of mental life are the result of processes in the brain and central nervous system. However, controversy rages as to the best way to tackle the problem of consciousness within a scientific framework. The course examines some of the different approaches currently influential in this field, and examines the historical background that has shaped the debate.

HPS 1703: Writing Workshop for HPS Majors
Dr. Mazviita Chirimuuta
Wednesday 10:00-12:30
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 seminar is for HPS Undergrad Majors in their Junior or Senior Year.

Fall 2012

HPS 0427 / CLASS 0330: Myth and Science
Bihui Li
Thursday 6:00-8:30
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 0427 / CLASS 0330: Myth and Science
Joseph McCaffrey
T & H 9:30-10:45
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 & H 1:00-2:15
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
Kathryn Tabb
Monday 6:00-8:30
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
Elay Shech
T & H 11:00-12:15
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 0545: Space, Time, Matter: Antiquity to the 20th Century
Thomas Pashby
T & H 4:00-5:15
Modern science is said to have begun in ancient Greece with the idea that the world admits explanation in terms of universal physical principles. Faced with the challenge of providing a unified picture of the physical world, physicists today continue the search for a "Theory of Everything." Whether or not they succeed in this grand aim, today's theories of physics have already made astonishing progress towards it. This course will provide an introduction to the history of conceptions of the physical universe from antiquity to the present day, and is suitable for both science and non-science students. Beginning with theories of the ancient Greeks, we will examine how notions of space, time, matter and motion were transformed during the Scientific Revolution of the 17th century, and again by modern physics in the 20th.

HPS 0605: Nature of the Emotions
Dr. James Lennox
Wednesday 10:00-10:50
This course is a historical and philosophical examination of theories and portrayals of the emotions. We will examine different philosophical and scientific accounts of such emotions as love, hate, desire, anger, jealousy, pride and grief, and the historical development of those accounts. A number of questions will guide our readings and discussions. How have philosophers and scientists portrayed the relationship between emotions, and reason, will and morality. In what aspect or aspects of human nature are the emotions grounded—the body, the mind, or both? How are the emotions related to personality and rationality? Can one examine one’s emotions and control them, or change the way the emotions affect our behavior? Can philosophical and scientific theories about the emotions be tested and validated? And since beliefs about emotions change throughout history, and also from culture to culture, does this imply the emotions change as well? Does love, for example, have the same meaning in Ancient Greece, Medieval England, and modern day America; or in modern day America, Saudi Arabia, China, and Germany? The course readings will be a combination of writings by philosophers and scientists from Aristotle and Plato to contemporary neuro-scientists and philosophers.
Recitation: Once a week required.

HPS 0611: Principles of Scientific Reasoning
Greg Gandenberger
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. Sandra D. Mitchell
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
Peter Distelzweig
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, 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
Dr. Leah Henderson
Thursday 6:00-8:30
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 0623: Explanations of Humans and Society
Dr. Peter K. Machamer
M & W 3:00-4:15
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 (CLASS HAS BEEN CANCELED)
Yoichi Ishida
M & W 4:30-5:45

HPS 1627: Living with Technology (CLASS HAS BEEN CANCELED)
Dr. Peter K. Machamer
M & W 3:00-4:15

HPS 1653 / PHIL 1610: Introduction to Philosophy of Science
Dr. James F. Woodward
M & W 12:00-12:50
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.
Recitation: Once a week required.

HPS 1670 / PHIL 1670: Philosophy of Neuroscience
Dr. Mazviita Chirimuuta
T & H 2:30-3:45
This course examines the major debates within philosophy of neuroscience. Firstly, mechanism and explanation, whether progress in neuroscience can be characterized as the discovery of neural mechanisms, and whether this constitutes explanation of target phenomena. Secondly, questions concerning levels of explanation and reduction, i.e. whether neurobiological phenomena can be characterized in terms of processes happening at different levels (molecular, cellular, circuit), and the extent to which higher level process can be reduced to lower level ones. Thirdly, the issue of localization considers the extent to which particular cognitive or perceptual functions (e.g. working memory) can be mapped to specific regions of the brain.