Check out these Spring 2017 classes in History and Philosophy of Science and Medicine

Looking for a good elective for Spring 2017? You might be interested in one of these courses offered in History and Philosophy of Science and Medicine.

HPSC-X 102 SCI REVOLUTIONS: PLATO TO NATO

HPSC-X 111 ISSUES IN BIOL-MEDICAL ETHICS

HPSC-X 138 SCIENCE AND RELIGION

HPSC-X 200 SCIENTIFIC REASONING

HPSC-X 205 INTRODUCTION TO MEDICAL HIST [TOPIC: HEALTH AND DISEASE]

HPSC-X 207 OCCULT IN WESTERN CIVIL

HPSC-X 220 ISSUES IN SCI: HUMANISTIC [TOPIC: ANIMAL MINDS]

HPSC-X 306 UNDERSTANDING PICTURES

HPSC-X 308 HISTORY OF BIOLOGY

Detailed course descriptions are below – keep reading!

HPSC-X 102 SCI REVOLUTIONS: PLATO TO NATO (3 CR)

IUB GenEd S&H credit

IUB GenEd World Culture credit

COLL (CASE) S&H Breadth of Inquiry credit

COLL (CASE) Global Civ & Culture credit

 

An introduction to the formative steps in the scientific tradition as well as philosophical investigations of the nature of science. The course will survey in a chronological sequence aspects of the Aristotelian world view, the Copernican revolution, the mechanical philosophy, the chemical and Darwinian revolution, and the rise of twentieth century science. Where did modern science come from? Is it a stockpile of technique and knowledge that has accumulated slowly and steadily over the centuries? This course presents a more complex and dynamic picture, in which the history of science also takes unexpected twists, turns and conceptual leaps, in response to changing social, political and religious interests, and to shifting scientific assumptions, methods, and forms of organization. The course introduces the most important formative steps in the scientific tradition, each of which overturned earlier ways of investigating and understanding nature. These include Aristotelian physics, Ptolomaic astronomy and Galenic medicine in the ancient and Medieval world; the scientific revolutions of the 15th- through the 18th centuries that ushered in Copernican astronomy, Newtonian physics, and new ideas about physiology and medicine; the chemical and Darwinian revolutions; and the rise of modern physics and other 20th-century innovations and problems. This survey of scientific change will also be used to introduce foundational issues in the history and philosophy of science, such as: What distinguishes science as a unique method of investigation? What is the relationship between theory and evidence? and What is the structure of scientific change?

 

 

HPSC-X 111 ISSUES IN BIOL-MEDICAL ETHICS (3 CR)

COLL (CASE) A&H Breadth of Inquiry credit

 

Investigation of ethical issues that arise in the biological and medical sciences, the impact of these issues on the behavior of scientists during the conduct of scientific research, and on the role of science in discussions about ethics and public policy. The course will focus on specific cases and debates arising from and within biology and medicine, and in related fields such as ecology or clinical psychology. The course will provide an introduction to critical reasoning in ethics and an overview of major ethical theories. No prior background is required.

 

      

HPSC-X 138 SCIENCE AND RELIGION (3 CR)

COLL (CASE) A&H Breadth of Inquiry credit

This course explores aspects of the complex relationship between science and religion We will focus on four main themes: (1) Creation, (2) Evolution, (3) Cognitive Science of Religion, and (4) Demarcation. In the first part of the course, we will look at the cosmology of different traditions, including but not limited to the Greeks, Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, and the Navajo—with an eye out for how these stories relate to scientific culture. For example, we will contrast how the early church fathers, such as St. Augustine, interpreted the creation account found in Genesis with the initial presentation of the “Big Bang” theory by Georges Lemaître. In the “Evolution” section, we will explore scientific debates in evolutionary theory from the 19th century to the present and how a diverse group of religious thinkers have responded to these debates. This will put us in position to locate and compare the sources of contention and agreement regarding the central issues of human descent and the origin and diversification of species. Additionally, we will explore how the discovery of biological organisms like “dinosaurs” was entangled with political and religious values. The Indiana University Paleontology Collection will allow us to see and touch, first hand, the fossil species that led to an expansion of the biological realm. In the third part, “Cognitive Science of Religion,” we will critically evaluate those theories which attempt to discover the cognitive and evolutionary basis for religious belief and experience via a series of readings and “visual” experiments. We will discuss the implications these approaches have for our understanding of religious and scientific knowledge. Lastly, we will ask how science and religion are to be demarcated from each other. Specifically, what separates science and religion from one another and what similarities can we locate? And, depending on the answer to this question, we will explore what this means for broader social and political attitudes towards, science, religion, and the interaction between them.

 

 

HPSC-X 200 SCIENTIFIC REASONING (3 CR)

IUB GenEd N&M credit

COLL (CASE) N&M Breadth of Inquiry credit

 

This course provides an introductory overview to some of the central topics in the philosophy of science. In the first part we analyze the concept of ‘scientific reasoning’ in terms of patterns of reasoning, the relation between theories, hypothesis and observations, forms scientific explanation and the structure of the scientific method. The second part of the course deals with a variety of contemporary debates in philosophy of science, such as the relation between science, values and religion, and particular philosophical debates within sciences themselves, such as physics, biology and medicine.

 

 

HPSC-X 205 HEALTH AND DISEASE (3 CR)

IUB GenEd S&H credit

COLL (CASE) S&H Breadth of Inquiry credit

 

This class provides an introduction to the history of medicine from the Hippocratic Oath in ancient Greece to the 20th century. We will discuss major features of the medical world, including: transformations in anatomy and physiology, such as the discovery of the circulation of the blood; changing concepts of disease and therapeutic practices culminating with the germ theory of disease and cellular pathology; shifts in institutional settings, from the bedside to the hospital and the rise of the laboratory. The course would be of interest to all students with an interest in a career in the medical professions (broadly conceived) and also to students interested in history and the life-sciences. There are no pre-requisites to take the class.

 

 

HPSC-X 207 OCCULT IN WESTERN CIVIL (3 CR)

IUB GenEd World Culture credit

COLL (CASE) A&H Breadth of Inquiry credit

COLL (CASE) Global Civ & Culture credit

 

The occult is a theme that is deeply ingrained in the history of Western Civilization. From antiquity to the present, segments of our society have laid claim to a secret wisdom that could only be revealed to those who are worthy of its exercise.  Such “occult” pursuits as alchemy, astrology, and magic played an important role in the formation of modern science during the scientific revolution of seventeenth century, and subsequently had a major impact on poetry, music and the pictorial arts.  And yet, if we considered pursuits that are usually deemed to make up “the occult,” it is remarkable how little these fields have to do with one another.  What does alchemy, and artisanal pursuit related to metallurgy, have in common with divinatory practices such as astrology, oneiromancy, or crystal-gazing?  What does witchcraft have to do with extraterrestrial life?  The Occult in Western Civilization will answer these questions and others.  It will also argue that the occult sciences-especially alchemy, astrology, and natural magic-were originally predicted on quite reasonable bases consistent with the best science and philosophy of their time, however, they may have been altered in late twentieth-century culture.  By thinking carefully about the relationships among science, philosophy, and those disciplines traditionally classified as “occult” students will learn about the nature of scientific knowledge more generally.  The basic goals of the course, then, will be to instill a historical understanding of the occult while at the same time stimulating philosophical reflection on the nature of scientific knowledge in general.

 

 

HPSC-X 220: Humanistic Perspectives on Science. Topic: Animal Minds

 

Why do crows go sledding? Do rats remember specific events? Do monkeys understand the meanings of their calls? Do pigeons have concepts? Do fish feel pain? Do mice show empathy? Are octopuses conscious? Is it dangerously anthropomorphic to ask these questions, or can they be investigated in a scientifically rigorous fashion? Just what do we know about animal cognition and consciousness, or, for that matter, about our own? And what does it imply for our ethical responsibilities towards animals? These are some of questions that are being hotly debated in the field animal cognition — a highly interdisciplinary subject to which psychologists, behavioral biologists, neuroscientists, anthropologists, linguists, and philosophers have all made contributions. The goal of this course is to examine current research in animal cognition with a view to understanding how philosophical and scientific questions about animal minds interact.  Using Kristin Andrews’s book The Animal Mind: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Animal Cognition (Routledge 2014) as our guide, we will read a mixture of scientific reports and philosophy articles arguing the case for and against Darwin’s thesis of strong continuity between the mental powers of humans and other animals.

 

 

HPSC-X 306 UNDERSTANDING PICTURES (3 CR)

COLL (CASE) A&H Breadth of Inquiry credit

 

This course aims at visual education and examines cultural, historical and philosophical issues involving the use of moving images in science. It requires reading, viewing, writing and discussion. The history of the use of pictures in science fleshes out and extends the number of philosophical questions that have been asked about images generally: Are pictures necessary? What for? How do pictures represent? How do they get their meaning? What can pictures represent or communicate? Can they equally represent facts and values? How do they work as evidence, or as tools for thinking? Has their meaning changed over time? How do diagrams and cartoon animations work? Science has added to the kinds of things, concepts, ideas, values and arguments associated with pictures. Equally, science has long interacted with the world of art in the use of imagery and in the creation and understanding of elements of imagery such as geometry and color. What about moving pictures, or cinematography? Do they pose new questions? This course examines some of these questions in the interaction of the history of science and the history of cinematography. But how has film entered scientific practice as a tool to meet scientific goals? How is cinematographic imagery relevant and valuable to scientific research and education? How is it different from the case of still pictures? Does it introduce or enforce a different kind of attention or representation? Is scientific cinematography value-free and socially neutral? How is it used in different sciences? And realism is not all there is; computer animations and simulations blur the distinction between cinematography and science as sources of fiction. Finally, what is the representation of science in film entertainment?

 

 

HPSC-X 308 HISTORY OF BIOLOGY (3 CR)

COLL (CASE) A&H Breadth of Inquiry credit

 

The term “biology” was first used at the turn of the nineteenth century to denote a new scientific or philosophical approach to the study of life, distinct from natural history, natural theology, and medicine. But what did it mean to be “scientific”? What was this new science going to tell us about the organic world and ourselves? Where and how and by whom was biological research to be done, with what resources? This seminar is a survey of key figures and pivotal moments in the history of modern biology, that have re-defined its scientific character, by either opening new lines of inquiry and explanation, developing new kinds of instruments, practices, and institutions, or changing the social role of the biological scientist. Coverage includes, e.g., Lamarck, Mendel, Darwin, Haeckel, Pavlov, classical and molecular genetics, embryology, evolution, and ecology. There are no prerequisites, but knowledge of modern biology or modern European or American history will be helpful.

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