University of Pittsburgh
Undergraduate Courses (2016-2017)

Spring 2017


HPS 0410: Einstein: Modern Science and Surprises
Dr. John D. Norton
M & W 12:00p.m. - 12:50p.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.
Recitation: One hour per week

HPS 0427: Myth and Science
Michael Miller
T 6:00pm - 8:30p.m.
cross-listed with CLASS 0330/ 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 0437: Darwinism and its Critics
Dr. James G. Lennox
M & W 9:30a.m. - 10:45a.m.
Charles Darwin's evolutionary theory not only revolutionized biology, it has revolutionary implications for how we see ourselves and our place in nature. In this course, we will study the history of evolutionary theory from pre-Darwinian to contemporary biology, focusing on the reactions of the scientific, religious, and philosophical communities to evolutionary ideas. Two central questions will animate our discussion: (1) What is the scientific status of Darwinism (and its rivals)? (2) What are the implications of Darwinism for our beliefs about humanity's place in nature? We will end the course by considering in detail a variety of contemporary critics of Darwinism, both scientific and non-scientific.
Recitation: One hour per week

HPS 0515: Magic, Medicine and Science
Dr. Jason Rampelt
M, W & F 11:00a.m. - 11:50a.m.
cross-listed with HIST 0089/11783 This course will consider some of the most important lines of thought in Western intellectual history, from the Ancient Greeks to the Scientific Revolution. We will begin briefly with ancient Greek speculations in cosmology, natural philosophy, and medicine. Then we will examine how they develop through the Middle Ages and into the Renaissance. These include, among other topics, the magical, alchemical, and astrological traditions that flourished from Antiquity through the 17th century. In the second half of the course will focus on the exciting intellectual transformations in 17th-century Britain and Europe, which constitute the beginnings of modern science. The great scientific achievements of figures such as Galileo, Kepler, Copernicus, Descartes, Boyle, and Newton will be discussed. In this course, students will gain a clear understanding of the multi-dimensional origins of modern science.

HPS 0515: Magic, Medicine and Science
Marina Baldiserra-Pacchetti
H 6:00p.m. - 8:30p.m.
cross-listed with HIST 0089/25085 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 0610: Causal Reasoning
Dr. Porter Williams
T & H 9:30a.m. - 10:45a.m.
cross-listed with HIST 0089/25085 How can scientists, statisticians, and other researchers distinguish causal relationships from those that are merely correlational? Why is this distinction important for medical research, public policy, and decision-making in everyday life This course examines these questions and reasoning about causality in general. This course includes a web-based format for the textual material, exams, and virtual "Causality Lab." Students will use this lab to analyze simulated experiments, construct causal theories, derive predictions from these theories, and test predictions against simulated data. While the course materials are available on-line, students attend a weekly session for case study analysis and course material review.

HPS 0611: Principles of Scientific Reasoning
Tyler Ahlstrom
W 6:00p.m. - 8:30p.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. Peter K. Machamer
M & W 1:00p.m. - 1:50p.m.
Mind and Medicine deals with problems and questions that arise in considering how the mind plays certain roles in medical theory and practice. Of course, this means we must think about what the mind is. We will begin this course by looking at nature of emotions (particularly pleasure, fear, and empathy), how they might be explained, and see what role emotions play in judgments. Then we shall move on to examine briefly the placebo effect, what it is, and how it might function. From there we shall examine a case of a common mental illness, depression, and use it to examine the nature of explanation in medicine generally. We shall contrast such explanations with those given in evolutionary psychology. Finally, we will examine the some of the interrelations among certain aspects of mind, brain, and body. 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 consumers. 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 may be of particular interest to pre-medical and pre-health care students.
Recitation: One hour a week.

HPS 0612: Mind and Medicine
David Wilkenfeld
H 6:00p.m. - 8:30p.m.
Description: As per above.

HPS 0613: Morality and Medicine
David (Evan) Pence
M 6:00p.m. - 8:30p.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 0613: Morality and Medicine
George Borg
T 6:00p.m. - 8:30p.m.
Description: As per above.

HPS 0613: Morality and Medicine - CGS
Daniel Wilkenfeld
W 6:00p.m. - 8:30p.m.
Description: As per above.

HPS 0613: Morality and Medicine
Agnes Bolinska
T & H 1:00p.m. - 2:15p.m.
Description: As per above.

HPS 0620: Science and Religion
Brock Bahler
T & H 2:30p.m. - 3:45p.m
Cross-listed with RELGST 1770/30250 & PHIL 1840/30251 Are science and religion at odds with each other? Are they complementary and harmonizable? Or do they represent completely separate domains of human inquiry? In this course, we examine the relations between science, rationality, and technology, on the one hand, and faith, religion, and religious texts, on the other, and examine how these questions have been answered throughout history, particularly in the Western monotheist faiths (e.g., Christianity, Judaism, Islam). Special attention will be given to the interpretation of creation accounts in the ancient world, views toward science and medicine in the Middle Ages, the scientific revolution, and various religious approaches to evolutionary theory. We will also consider the relationship on practical, contemporary issues such as racism and science, neuroscience and religious practice, as well as ecology and faith. Some of the guiding themes that will shape our discussion include the compatibility of religion and science throughout history, the possible mutual benefits between the respective discourses, and what role religious communities play (and have played) in scientific and environmental concerns.

HPS 1531: Man & the Cosmos in Renaissance
Dr. Paolo Palmieri
T & H 9:30 - 10:45am
In this course, you will explore the life and works of Leonardo da Vinci, his struggle to become a truly cosmic being. Leonardo was a queer, in love with beauty, ugliness, and the anarchy of the imagination. He painted, drew, and created androgynous realities that defy ontological categories. His manuscripts and paintings are material reflections of his quest for the divine and the infinite. Leonardo united the masculine and the feminine natures as the Greek philosopher Plato had theorized. You will actively experiment with ideas such as sexuality, attraction, diversity, the body and its language, the non-human animal, the elements, the dream of flight and the mystery of birds, engineering, graphic design, spirituality and religious symbolism. All are welcome to express their intellectual, artistic, and LGBTQIA orientation. There are no exams, no quizzes, and no prerequisites. The instructor is Rainbow Alliance trained.

HPS 1600: Philosophy & the Rise of Modern Science
Dr. Mark Wilson
T & H 2:30p.m. - 3:45p.m.
cross-listed with PHIL 1600/ This course will survey the ways in which scientific concerns about the nature of matter have affected philosophical thinking (and vice versa) in the historical period ranging from the 1600s into the twentieth century. Some of the figures we shall discuss: Newton, Boyle, Descartes, Leibniz, Euler, Boscovich, Maxwell, Duhem, Heisenberg and Bohr. No technical background is required but the student should be prepared to read historical authors.

HPS 1602: Race. History, Biology, Psychology, Philosophy
Morgan Thompson
T & H 4:00p.m. - 5:15p.m.
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. Non-philosophers are welcome. Students with training and expertise in related areas outside of philosophy are strongly encouraged to attend. Prior acquaintance with the philosophy of race is not presupposed. In particular, we will examine the following questions: Where does the concept of race come from? Is it a recent historical invention? How is and ought race be represented in natural history museum exhibits? How has the concept of race influenced the sciences? Does genetics show that races are real? Why are racial categories used in medicine? What are races? What is racism? How does race contribute to one's identity? Why do we think racially? Are there differences in intelligence between races? Should our policies be color-blind? Is some particular concept of race necessary for political and social opposition to racism? The course aims to provide you with the tools and concepts to think about race and racism in a nuanced and reflective way. Students with a variety of views on the topics such as realists, antirealists, agnostics, and “undecided” about the reality of race are equally welcome. The course aims to encourage the critical assessment of your prior understanding of ‘race’ and ‘racism’ as well as engaged and respectful discussion of issues relevant to our everyday lives.

HPS 1620: Philosophy of Biology
Eva Jablonka
M & W 3:00p.m. - 4:15p.m.
The course focuses on two major concepts: biological organization and evolution. We will analyze the notions of “organism”, function, goal, semantic information, and evolutionary adaptation. The first week will be devoted to an introduction to the philosophy of biology, using Godfrey-Smith’s short book (2014) as the basic text. Over the next 6 weeks we will study from a historical-philosophical perspective, the notion of the organism and of organization, using the machine metaphor developed in Riskin’s book “The Restless Clock”. In parallel, we will read classical texts including Aristotle (chapters from De Anima), Kant (chapters from the Critique of Judgement), Lamarck (chapters from Philosophical Zoology), Darwin (chapters from The Origin), and Woodger. The next 8 weeks will be focused on an analysis of ideas about organization, autopoiesis, autonomy and self (based on readings of Varela and Maturana, Thompson, Moreno, Nicholson, Tauber, Pradeu); function (Cummins, Wright, others); biological information (Oyama, Maynard Smith, Jablonka, and others); evolutionary adaptation, which will include a discussion of levels of selection, and a notion of individuality based on Okasha and others. We will conclude with an introduction to the extended evolutionary synthesis. The course is designed for both philosophers, who can explore some of the central organizing concepts of biological investigations, and for biologists who wants to understand the conceptual foundations and presuppositions of their science. The students will read primary historical and philosophical texts and engage in discussions. The format of the course will be a combination of lectures and discussions. Students will be asked to submit a half page summary or “abstract” of the material they have been asked to read each week. An essay on one of the topics discussed during the course will be submitted at its end, and the final mark will be based on this essay.

HPS 1623: Death & Healthcare Profession-UHC
Jonathan Weinkle
H 5:00p.m. - 8:30p.m.
Cross-listed with RELGST 1725/27318 The American culture of the 20th and 21st centuries has been called not death-defying, but death-denying. It is often said that America is the only place in the world that treats death as optional. Once upon a time, we could not have open, public conversations about breast cancer, because the word could not be uttered aloud. In many places, it is just as hard today to have an open, public conversation about death and dying. This phenomenon is not just a social more; it affects the practice of many professions and entire segments of our economy and society. This course explores our individual and cultural reactions to mortality, religious ideas about death, the ways in which dying in today’s America is different from dying throughout history or elsewhere in the world, and the responses of a variety of professions, both within the field of healthcare and beyond, to their encounters with people in the various stages of dying. Students will be asked, at turns, to be scientific, philosophical, clinical, analytical, and emotional in encountering the concepts and material presented here. This should be a true interdisciplinary experience.

HPS 1682: Freedom & Determinism
Dr. Erica Shumener
H 6:00p.m. - 8:30p.m.
Cross-listed with PHIL 1682/30258 This course will examine some of the central questions in the free will 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 1702: JR/SR Seminar for HPS Majors
Dr. Mazviita Chirimuuta
H 1:00 – 3:30p.m.
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. Prerequisites: Must be an HPS major in junior or senior year.

HPS 1703: Writing Workshop for HPS Majors
Dr. Mazviita Chirimuuta
H 1:00 – 3:30p.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 Writing Workshop is for HPS Undergrad Majors in Junior or Senior Year.

Fall 2016


HPS 0427: Myth and Science
Marina Baldiserra-Pacchetti
W 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 0430: Galileo & Creation of Modern Science
Paolo Palmieri
T & H 11:00am - 12:15pm
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: Magic, Medicine and Science
Jason Rampelt
T & H 3:00pm-4:15pm
This course will consider some of the most important lines of thought in Western intellectual history, from the Ancient Greeks to the Scientific Revolution. We will begin briefly with ancient Greek speculations in cosmology, natural philosophy, and medicine. Then we will examine how they develop through the Middle Ages and into the Renaissance. These include, among other topics, the magical, alchemical, and astrological traditions that flourished from Antiquity through the 17th century. In the second half of the course will focus on the exciting intellectual transformations in 17th-century Britain and Europe, which constitute the beginnings of modern science. The great scientific achievements of figures such as Galileo, Kepler, Copernicus, Descartes, Boyle, and Newton will be discussed. In this course, students will gain a clear understanding of the multi-dimensional origins of modern science.

HPS 0545: Space-Time-Matter
Tyler Ahlstrom
T 6:00pm - 8:30pm
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, and matter 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.

HPS 0605: Nature of the Emotions
Agnes Bolinska
T & H 1:00pm - 1:50pm
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 emotion, 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 behavior? 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 Ancient Greece until the 21st Century. Recitation-one hour per week.

HPS 0608: Philosophy of Science
Jeffrey D. Gallow
M & W 12:00pm - 12:50pm
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 per week.

HPS 0611: Principles of Scientific Reasoning
George Borg
W 6:00pm - 8:30pm
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
Kelsey Ward
T & H 9:30am - 10:45am
Mind and Medicine deals with problems and questions that arise in considering how the mind plays certain roles in medical theory and practice. Of course, this means we must think about what the mind is. We will begin this course by looking at nature of emotions (particularly pleasure, fear, and empathy), how they might be explained, and see what role emotions play in judgments. Then we shall move on to examine briefly the placebo effect, what it is, and how it might function. From there we shall examine a case of a common mental illness, depression, and use it to examine the nature of explanation in medicine generally. We shall contrast such explanations with those given in evolutionary psychology. Finally, we will examine the some of the interrelations among certain aspects of mind, brain, and body. 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 consumers. 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 may be of particular interest to pre-medical and pre-health care students.

HPS 0612: Mind and Medicine
Evan Pence
H 6:00pm - 8:30pm
As per above.

HPS 0613: Morality and Medicine
Sandra D. Mitchell
M & W 2:00pm - 2:50pm
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. One hour recitation is required per week.

HPS 0613: Morality and Medicine
Morgan Thompson
T 6:00pm - 8:30pm
As per above.

HPS 0613: Morality and Medicine - CGS
Dr. Keith Bemer
M 6:00pm - 8:30pm
As per above.

HPS 0613: Morality and Medicine
Agnes Bolinska
H 6:00pm - 8:30pm
As per above.

HPS 0621: How Science Works
Eric Hatleback
M 6:00pm - 8:30pm
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 1605: Aesthetics and Science
Peter K. Machamer
T & H 4:00pm - 5:15pm
What are the experiences that make up our appreciation of literature, painting or music? Does knowing about a work of art preclude really 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 men'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, television, literature, painting, music and poetry will be examined, as well as the concepts of metaphor, interpretation and artistic style.

HPS 1612: Philosophy of 20th Century Physics
Michael E. Miller
M & W 3:00pm - 4:15pm
The recent discovery of the Higgs Boson marked a final step in the empirical verification of the Standard Model of particle physics, our best theory of the fundamental forces and the elementary particles that experience them. This course will discuss philosophical issues associated with the theoretical and experimental challenges posed by the Standard Model. We will discuss special relativity and quantum mechanics and how they revolutionized our understanding of space, time, and matter. We will then discuss how these theories are combined in the Standard Model and the peculiar picture of the world that emerges from this synthesis. Along the way we will address philosophical questions concerning scientific explanation, laws of nature, and the kind of knowledge that is generated by the enormous experiments that are required to test the Standard Model. This course will be accessible for those with no background in physics but with an interest in the philosophical challenges that modern physics poses.

HPS 1640: Science, Philosophy and the Senses
Mazviita Chirimuuta and Wayne Wu
H 1:30pm - 4:00pm
Our senses are our only means of obtaining knowledge of the world around us. For this reason, they have long been a subject of philosophical enquiry, concerned with the nature of perceptual knowledge. Alongside philosophical investigation, the perceptual modalities (vision, hearing, etc.) are a central area of experimental research in psychology and neuroscience. Philosophers of perception now seek to integrate their conceptual understanding of the topic with empirical results coming from these sciences. In this course, we will examine debates in contemporary philosophy of perception over the nature of perceptual awareness and sensory knowledge, looking especially at ideas that have been influenced by scientific discoveries. Topics include: naïve realism and representationalism; ontology of perceptible qualities (the existence of colour, sound, smell, etc.); the nature of attention and introspection. Prerequisites: None, but background in either perceptual psychology or philosophy of mind is preferable.

HPS 1653: Introduction to Philosophy of Science
Porter Williams
M & W 1:00pm - 1:50pm
The aim of this course is to provide a broad survey of some fundamental questions in philosophy of science, and to cultivate your ability to think through these difficult questions in a clear and critical way. The course is divided in three main parts. In the first part, we explore the questions: "What is science? Is there a valid scientific method?" We tackle these questions by looking at the problem of induction, some classic answers to it, and following developments in confirmation theory. In part two, we investigate the questions: "Is science aiming at truth? Or does it only aim at saving the phenomena?" We critically assess three main philosophical views surrounding this issue. Finally, in part three, we concentrate on more specific questions such as: "What is a scientific explanation?" and "What is a law of nature?" We look, once again, at both traditional answers and more recent attempts to answer those challenging questions.

HPS 1660: Paradox
Michael Caie
T & H 2:00pm - 2:50pm
In this course we will explore paradoxes both for the fun of untangling intriguing puzzles and for the more serious reason of the easy access paradoxes provide to some of the most important foundations issues in philosophy, logic, mathematics, and the sciences. Examples: Zeno’s paradoxes of motion and paradoxes of supertasks; paradoxes of infinity; the liar paradox; paradoxes of time travel; paradoxes of rationality (the surprise exam paradox, the ravens paradox); paradoxes of decision (Newcomb’s paradox, the prisoners’ dilemma).