University of Pittsburgh
Undergraduate Courses (2013-2014)

Spring 2014

HPS 0410: Einstein: Modern Science and Surprises
Elay Shech
T & H 9:00-10:45 am
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
Keith Bemer
Thursday 6:00-8:30 pm
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 0515 / HIST 0089: Magic, Medicine and Science
Eric Hatleback
Monday 6:00-8:30 pm
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
Dr. Paolo Palmieri
M & W 2:00-2:50 pm
In Western civilization, magic, medicine, and science have always been deeply related to one another. This course introduces students from all backgrounds to humanistic ecology, an interdisciplinary method of learning which combines the history of magic, medicine, and science with the humanities. 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, which have been the foundations of Western civilization for more than two millennia, and which will help them find original pathways to knowledge and wellbeing.
Recitation: One hour a week.

HPS 0545: Space, Time, Matter: Antiquity to the 20th Century
Julia Bursten
T & H 11:00am-12:15pm
Ever since the ancients first looked up at the sky, people have asked themselves questions: What are the stars made of? Does time have a beginning or an end? Is the universe infinite? Throughout history, humanity has theorized about the nature of space, time, and matter, and these theories became the basis of both ancient and modern physical science. This course is an introduction to the history of physical science in the West from antiquity to the present day. We will investigate how theories of space, time, matter and motion evolved from ancient Greece and antiquity, through the Scientific Revolution of the 17th century and the birth of modern physics and chemistry in the early 20th century, and into today. This course is suitable for both science and non-science majors.

HPS 0608 / PHIL 0610: Philosophy of Science
Dr. Giovanni Valente
M & W 12:00-12:50 pm
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.
Recitation: One hour a week.

HPS 0610: Causal Reasoning
Lei Jiang
Thursday 6:00-8:30 pm
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
Trey Boone
Wednesday 6:00-8:30 pm
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 1-1:50 pm
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 0612: Mind and Medicine
Elizabeth O’Neill
Wednesday 6:00-8:30 pm
Mind and Medicine deals with problems and questions related to the roles that the mind plays in medical theory and practice. We will look at the role of the mind in both psychiatric and somatic medical contexts. We will address topics such as: What is the mind? What sorts of reasoning and decision-making processes are employed in medical contexts and what sorts of biases threaten these processes? What is the nature of medical expertise? How should medical conditions be explained? Can evolutionary biology contribute anything to psychiatry? We will also touch on some foundational questions about medicine, such as: What is disease? What is the difference between psychiatric and somatic pathologies? How should pathologies be classified? In addition, we will look at the nature of emotions (such as disgust, fear, and empathy), how emotions might be explained, and how emotions influence judgments. Students who successfully complete this course will be able to identify and analyze different philosophical approaches to selected issues in the nature of mind, medicine and psychiatry; will have gained insight into how to read and critically interpret philosophical arguments; and have developed skills that will enable them to think clearly about some foundational questions as future or current health care providers, policy makers, and beneficiaries.
This course is also part of a core sequence leading to certification in the Conceptual Foundations of Medicine Certificate Program, and is a companion course to HPS 0613 (Morality and Medicine) but may be taken independently. The course should be of particular interest to pre-medical and pre-health care students.

HPS 0613: Morality and Medicine
Jeffrey Sykora
Monday 6:00-8:30 pm
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 0613: Morality and Medicine
Aleta Quinn
T & H 4:00-5:15 pm
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 0685: Mathematics and Culture (UHC)
Dr. Paolo Palmieri
T & H 2:30-3:45 pm
Mathematics and Culture investigates the cultural origins of early modern European mathematics. The course focuses on arithmetic, mechanics, and other mathematical disciplines, placing them in the broader context of nascent mercantile societies, economies of exchange, and financial instruments, which revolutionized the social and intellectual structures of early modern Europe. The course is based on both primary and secondary readings, through the analytical study of embodiment of value, mathematical symbolism, and the theory of proportion. Students will learn how to expand their conceptual vocabulary, how to reflect critically on the cultural basis of modern mathematics, and thus appreciate better the roots of its pervasive role in contemporary science and society.
There are no prerequisites.

HPS 1612 / PHIL 1612: Philosophy of 20th Century Physics
Dr. Slobodan Perovic
M & W 3:00-4:15 pm
This course will focus on philosophical aspects of 20th-century experimental physics. We will examine how some ingenious experiments performed at the beginning of the century led to the emergence of the curious concept of the quantum, and changed the established understanding of space and time. We will then take a brief look at the 20th-century search for fundamental particles, from the early table-top experiments to mega-experiments involving thousands of physicists that took many years to perform; we will ask why exactly physicists perform experiments of this sort in the first place. Does nature reveal its 'real' side when experimentally manipulated? Or are experiments simply tools for testing the predictions of scientific theories? Or perhaps they are much more versatile activities? Following this course does not require any University-level background in physics, nor any prior introduction to the philosophy of science. All the necessary scientific concepts will be explained in the class.

HPS 1626: Neuroethics
Dr. Kenneth Schaffner
M & W 3:00-4:15 pm
This course is an introduction to ethical, social, and philosophical issues in the neurosciences and brain research. As the American Medical Association has noted, "The rapidly evolving field of neuroethics—ethical issues involving neurologic and psychiatric conditions—is concerned with the great promise of newer technologies as well as the ethical questions that they will pose about autonomy, privacy, the definition of "normal," and the nature of individuality." The topics to be covered include (1) neurological and brain enhancement, (2) ethical and policy issues related to neuroimaging, (3) mind control and "mindreading," (4) free will and responsibility, (5) criminal culpability and "dangerous brains," and (6) neurodevelopment and the emergence of personhood and the self. There are no prerequisites for this course.

HPS 1690 / PHIL 1690: Topics in Philosophy of Science
Dr. Giovanni Valente
M & W 4:30-5:45 pm
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. All the necessary technical background will be provided in class.

HPS 1702: JR/SR Seminar for HPS Majors
Dr. John D. Norton
Monday 12:00-2:30 pm
This is a "capstone" course for undergraduate majors in history and philosophy of science, intended to round out a major's studies in the field. We will review some core issues in philosophy of science, relating them to episodes in history of science. Seminar members will be led through the process of developing similar case studies of their own. This seminar is for HPS Undergraduate Majors in their Junior or Senior Year.

HPS 1703: Writing Workshop for HPS Majors
Dr. John D. Norton
Monday 12:00-2:30
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 Writing Workshop is for HPS Undergrad Majors in Junior or Senior Year.

Fall 2013

HPS 0427 / CLASS 0330: Myth and Science
Aleta Quinn
Wednesday 6:00-8:30 pm
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
TBD
MWF 12:00-12:50 pm
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 2:30-3:45 pm
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
Jeffrey Sykora
Thursday 6:00-8:30 pm
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
TBD
T & H 2:30-3:45 pm
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 0605: Nature of the Emotions
Dr. Edouard Machery
M & W 11:00-11:50 am
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
Lei Jiang
Monday 6:00-8:30 pm
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 0611: Principles of Scientific Reasoning
TBD
MWF 1:00-1:50 pm
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
(Worth) Trey Boone
T & H 9:30-10:45 am
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.

HPS 0612: Mind and Medicine
Elay Shech
Thursday 6:00-8:30 pm
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.

HPS 0613: Morality and Medicine
Dr. Sandra Mitchell
M & W 2:00-2:50 pm
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
Elay Shech
Tuesday 6:00-8:30 pm
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 0623: Explanations of Humans and Society
Dr. Clark Glymour
M & W 1:00-1:50 pm
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.
Recitiation: One hour a week.

HPS 1620 / PHIL 1650: Philosophy of Biology
Dr. James G. Lennox
T & H 4:00-5:15 pm
Philosophy of biology will consider foundational conceptual issues in biology like the nature and structure of biologi cal explanation, the possibility of laws in evolutionary theory, the relationship between different causal components of biological processes (genetics and development), the problem of species reality and classification, the explanatory character of ascription of biological function, and the extension of biological explanations to human psychology and culture.

HPS 1625: Philosophy of Medicine
Elizabeth O'Neill
T & H 11:00 am -12:15 pm
This course is an introduction to philosophical and yet practical issues in medical science. Students will examine the concepts of "health", "normality", and "disease", and also some representative theories in clinical biochemistry, microbiology, and physiology.

HPS 1653 / PHIL 1610: Introduction to Philosophy of Science
Dr. James Woodward
M & W 12:00-12:50 pm
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 1690 / PHIL 1690: Topics in Philosophy of Science: Philosophical Issues in the History of Chemistry
Julia Bursten
T & H 4:00-5:15 pm
Is there really such a thing as phlogiston? Why does it matter whether or not chemical bonds exist? How do pharmaceuticals and nanomaterials change the way we think about chemical theories? In this class, we investigate key episodes in the history of chemistry and study how philosophy has contributed to each chemical development. This course familiarizes students with central turning points in chemistry's development from an ancient, metaphysical theory of matter to the most-practiced science in the modern world, and it introduces students to some of the most important, and most vexing, problems in the philosophy of science. This course is not intended to be a comprehensive survey either of the history of chemistry or of the philosophy of science, but rather to highlight central issues from each subject. Each historical development discussed in this course is paired with a philosophical puzzle, in the hopes that each will complement the other and challenge students to think critically about the development of chemistry from a variety of perspectives. Prior experience in philosophy of science is not required, and students will have options to develop projects based on their individual backgrounds and interests.