Fall 2022 (Term 2231)
HPS 0430/16080 – Galileo and Creation of Modern Science
M & W 9:30a.m.-10:45a.m. CL 204
The unique combination of history and philosophy offered in this course emphasizes education as a spiritual process of freedom, diversity, creativity, and perennial growth. The Italian physicist and astronomer Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) was the decisive figure in the rise of modern science. In this course you will learn historical and philosophical skills that will enable you to understand, scholarly evaluate and memorize narratives concerning how Galileo ushered in a new era in astronomy when he aimed a 30-powered telescope at the sky in 1610; how he revolutionized the concept of science when he argued that the book of nature is written in the language of mathematics; how he astounded the theologians, who eventually condemned him to life imprisonment, when he claimed that the scientist’s search for the truth must not be constrained by religious authority; Galileo in the broader intellectual, social, and religious context of early modern Europe.
HPS 0515/20387 – Magic, Medicine and Science
T & H 9:30a.m.-10:45a.m. CL 149
The unique combination of history and philosophy offered in this course emphasizes feminism, diversity, and queer creativity. This course traces the history of the scientific revolution from feminist, sexual and ecological perspectives focusing on the philosophical and science-fiction works of Margaret Cavendish. You will read selections from her ground-breaking books such as the philosophical novel The blazing world and learn LGBTQIA+ perspectives regarding the scientific revolution, diversity, women, medicine, and magic. There are no prerequisites.
HPS 0605/30435 – The Nature of the Emotions
T & H 12:00p.m.-1:15p.m. CL 142
Emotions like joy, sadness, anger, etc. constitute a familiar and important dimension of our lives. However, there are various puzzles about the nature of emotions. In this course we will examine contemporary theories developed by philosophers, psychologists, and neuroscientists. The guiding theme of the course is how emotions relate to minds, brains, and the world. Some questions we will consider include: do emotions inform us about the world, and if so, how? Are emotions hardwired in the brain? Do different cultures have different emotions? Do other animals experience the same emotions, or are some emotions uniquely human? No background in philosophy or science is required.
HPS 0611/11353 – Principles of Scientific Reasoning
Porath, Gal Ben
T & H 4:30p.m.-5:15p.m. CL 235
This course will provide students with the skills to understand and assess scientific claims that confront them in daily life. Special attention will be given to reasoning based on samples, evaluating hypotheses and causal claims, as well as common mistakes in scientific reasoning.
HPS 0612/27691 - Mind and Medicine
Wednesday 6:00p.m.-8:30p.m. CL 130
Mind and medicine deals with fundamental problems and questions that arise in considering the nature of mental health, mental illness, and branches of medicine that aim to promote mental health and treat mental illness. We will begin by considering the concepts of 'health', 'disease' and 'illness' in general, and several different models of medicine. From there we will move on to a consideration of the nature of explanation in medicine generally. We will examine some explanatory successes in the domain of physical health and disease and consider how those successes were achieved. In the second half of the course, we will look at controversies over the question of whether there is such a thing as mental illness, and if so, how one is to define, diagnose and treat it. In order to better understand what is at stake, we will explore these controversies by focusing on a specific mental illness, schizophrenia. Looking at recent research on schizophrenia will allow us to see the extent to which the kind of understanding we have achieved in physical medicine is or is not to be expected with serious mental illness. Students who successfully complete this course will be able to identify and analyze different philosophical approaches to selected issues in medicine and psychiatry; have gained insight into how to read and critically interpret philosophical arguments; and have developed skills that will enable them to think clearly about 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 is of particular interest to pre-medical and pre-health care students.
HPS 0612/29034 – Mind and Medicine
Monday 6:00p.m.-8:30p.m. CL 253
HPS 0612/29035 - Mind and Medicine
Tuesday 6:00p.m.-8:30p.m. CL 116
HPS 0613/11203 - Morality and Medicine
M & W 2:00p.m.-2:50p.m. CL G24
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 0613/11204 - Morality and Medicine
Monday 1:00p.m.-1:50p.m. CL 232
HPS 0613/11205 - Morality and Medicine
Tuesday 1:00p.m.-1:50p.m. CL 219
HPS 0613/11209 - Morality and Medicine
Wednesday 1:00p.m.-1:50p.m. CL 139
HPS 0613/11206 - Morality and Medicine
Monday 12:00p.m.-12:50p.m. CL 339
HPS 0613/11208 - Morality and Medicine
Monday 11:00a.m.-11:50a.m. Benedum Hall 226
HPS 0613/11207 – Morality and Medicine
Friday 11:00a.m.-11:50a.m. CL 339
HPS 0613/16828 - Morality and Medicine
Wednesday 12:00p.m.-12:50p.m. CL 229
HPS 0613/16830 - Morality and Medicine
Friday 1:00p.m.-1:50p.m. CL 337
HPS 0613/30438 - Morality and Medicine
Wednesday 6:00p.m.-8:30p.m. CL 337
HPS 0613/24245 - Morality and Medicine
Thursday 6:00p.m.-8:30p.m. CL 327
HPS 0613/21817 - Morality and Medicine
Monday 6:00p.m.-8:30p.m. CL 149
No course description available.
HPS 0640/30446 – Science Fiction and Philosophy
Muthu Krishnan, Siddarth
T & H 1:00p.m.-2:15p.m. LH A214
Consider classic philosophical questions concerning knowledge of the external world, free will, time, ethics, language, and many more. The philosophical tradition has written many enlightening things on these topics. However, these are all questions that have also been examined by another rich tradition: science-fiction. While philosophy proceeds by careful argumentation and theory-building, science-fiction proceeds by imagining worlds very different from ours that are governed by their own internal logic and sees how stories play out in these worlds. In this way the two disciplines---science fiction and philosophy---are complementary. The goal of this course is to study both these traditions together so as to illuminate these classic philosophical questions. We will see how philosophical arguments become sharper when considered in the context of stories. We will investigate how our intuitions about philosophical problems change when confronted with stories. Hopefully, we will have gained a clearer understanding of philosophical questions and gain a more critical eye for viewing or reading science fiction. Most importantly, we will have developed the ability to write our thoughts clearly and develop and defend philosophical arguments.
HPS 0685/30447 – Mathematics and Culture
T & H 4:00p.m.-5:15p.m. CL 337
This course is about how mathematics impacts and is impacted by our cultural institutions. It satisfies the quantitative reasoning requirement for undergraduate study at the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences. Topics covered include the use of mathematics in the pursuit of justice, the relationship between mathematics and spirituality, the aesthetic value of mathematics, and the value and purpose of public education. The mathematical content of the course will be at the introductory level, with the basics of probability, geometry, and conceptual foundations of calculus covered with patience and accessibility in mind. A prerequisite of this course is pre-algebra.
HPS 1508/30246 – Classics in History of Science
M & W 11:00a.m.-12:15p.m. CL 208A
The goal of this course will be to build a partial picture of natural philosophy (science) in the 16th-18th centuries (focusing on the 17th). We will do this by closely examining Rene Descartes’ scientific textbook The Principles of Philosophy. It will act like a lens through which we will peer into a myriad of interesting and historically important scientific explanations, while we try to understand how natural philosophers (the forerunners of modern-day scientists) thought and worked. We will look at topics like the early explanation of the rainbow, the first full theory of the structure of the earth — the foundations of geology, a theory of the structure of the solar system called the vortex theory of planetary motions, an explanation of the nature of light, theories concerning the heart and blood circulation, and more. Hopefully, after the course is complete, we all will have a much more detailed understanding of how Descartes and his contemporaries thought and worked, and a picture of the natural philosophy in the 17th century. There will be no quizzes and tests.
HPS 1510/30448 – Science in Global Perspective
M & W 4:00p.m.-5:15p.m. CL 144
This course offers an introductory survey to Chinese philosophy (including Confucianism, Mohism, Daosim, and Neo-Confucianism) and its relation to science. We will study primary and secondary sources and address questions such as: Did science develop in China? What about modern science? What conception of science should we use in such discussions? Is Chinese philosophy beneficial to the development of science? If yes, does it contribute to science in ways that help constitute a scientific tradition that is different from modern science? In what sense are Chinese traditions of philosophy and science similar to or different from the Western traditions? There are no prerequisites for this course.
HPS 1620/30451 – Philosophy of Biology
T & H 11:00a.m.-12:15p.m. CL 149
What can biology tell us about who we are and where we come from? In this course, we will examine how scientists make and marshal knowledge of human ancestry. The study of ancestry is “opportunistic”: it draws on bones, genomes, and everything in between. Biologists use the relationships conjured out of these artifacts and sequences not only to piece together human history in the deep past, but also to differentiate contemporary human groups, to identify criminal suspects, and to predict health and disease in the present. While complex computational methods make the science of ancestry seem increasingly objective, these inferences are also entangled with different and conflicting narratives of identity, politics, and belonging. To unpack these entanglements, we will critically evaluate what scientists mean by ancestry, how they inquire about it, and how this helps, hinders, and changes our understanding of human relationships. We’ll also see what philosophers can learn by interrogating the ways that “ancestry” is taken up, imposed on, and rejected by members of indigenous, medical, carceral, and alt-right communities. Students of all intellectual and personal backgrounds are enthusiastically welcomed to the course; there are no prerequisites. It will be a bit easier if you have taken an intro biology course, but we will cover all the relevant science together.
HPS 1640/30452 – Science, Philosophy, and the Senses
T & H 9:30a.m.-10:45a.m. CL 230
Typically, we go about our day-to-day activities on the assumption that we have five senses: taste, smell, touch, hearing, and sight. The way we each perceive and interact with the world is made possible by the knowledge that we gain through our sensory modalities. Philosophers disagree on the number of sensory and perceptual modalities we have, and on what the adequate criteria is for demarcating our sensory modalities from one another. Alongside philosophical debates, our sensory modalities continue to be central to experimental research in many biological sciences. Moreover, multisensory research studying the interaction between our sensory modalities has seen a recent boon. In this course we will examine debates in philosophy of perception regarding traditional conceptions of our senses and how we obtain knowledge based on them. What makes this course unique this term is that we will study the nature and limits of our sensory systems as well as the philosophical debates that surround them through the world of perceptual illusions, e.g., the Ventriloquist effect, the Stroop effect, Muller-Lyre illusion, duck-rabbit, etc. We will also look at recent experimental studies to support or tear down certain long-standing philosophical assumptions about the nature of our senses. I encourage students from all departments to join!
Summer 2022 (Term 2227)
6 WEEK 1 (5/16/22-6/25/22)
HPS 0515/19879 - Magic, Medicine, and Science
M & W 2:00p.m.-3:15p.m. CL 253
It is tempting to see the past through the categories of the present. In this class we will try to reorientate our view of the Scientific Revolution by examining it through one of its distinctive categories: the witch. We will investigate the metaphysics, epistemology, and social impact of science between 1500 and 1700 through the lens of one of the period’s best-selling books: the witch hunting manual Malleus Maleficarum. Using the Malleus Maleficarum and other primary sources as our window, we will explore the history of the divide between natural and supernatural; health and disease; evidence and belief. We will also develop strategies for working with difficult primary source materials and for presenting information in new formats. This is a reading-intensive class.
HPS 0613/20565 - Morality and Medicine
T & H 12:00p.m.-3:15p.m. CL 253
In this course we will think carefully about the ethical questions raised by medical practices and biomedical technology. We will apply ethical reasoning tools to evaluate contemporary and historical medical cases; to examine arguments for and against controversial medical practices; and to consider the health professional-patient relationship. Major topics covered include informed consent, abortion and reproductive technology, end of life decisions, and justice in healthcare. This course is part of the Conceptual Foundations of Medicine Certificate Program and is a companion course to HPS 0612 (Mind and Medicine) but may be taken independently.
6 WEEK 2 (6/27/22-8/6/22)
HPS 0612/19882 - Mind and Medicine
M & W 2:00p.m.-5:15p.m. CL 252
This course is designed as an introduction to philosophical issues that exist at the intersection of psychology and medicine. We will focus in particular on fundamental questions about the nature of mental health, mental illness, and branches of medicine that address mental conditions. Among others, we will examine the following questions: What does it mean to be healthy? Can one define health and sickness purely objectively, or does the notion of disease involve value judgments? Are diseases always best explained by appealing to lower-level biological details such as genetics and biochemistry? Are psychiatric disorders real illness? How should scientists best explain psychiatric disorders? Are medical judgments influenced by various biases and can these biases be overcome? Should human medical judgments (e.g., clinicians’ judgments) be replaced by purely automatic computerized procedures? 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. 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 Certificate Program, and is a companion course to HPS 0613 (Morality and Medicine) but may be taken independently. The course is of particular interest to pre-medical and pre-health care students.
HPS 0613/18488 - Morality and Medicine
T & H 12:00p.m.-3:15p.m. CL 2523
Clinical medicine and public health are contexts in which disagreements about the right way to make decisions are common and where the stakes for ethical decision-making are especially high. This course is intended to help you make these decisions by giving you the philosophical toolkit to reason through a given situation. We will examine ethical issues that arise in the context of clinical medicine and public health, including the physician-patient relationship; consent; abortion; medical experimentation; transgender medical care; AI in medicine; health inequities; race and medicine; and the distribution of health resources. Throughout the course, we will examine what the details of a particular case might tell us about which morally relevant facts and distinctions are important, and whether a particular ethical framework is well-suited to the task at hand. To do this, we will investigate the scientific, medical, legal, and historical details that might inform our thinking about these questions. We will establish and follow community norms for discussing these topics, many of which may be sensitive or deeply personal. Students who successfully complete this course will develop skills that will enable them to think clearly and critically about ethical questions that they will face as future or current health care providers, policy makers, and consumers.