Ideals of Scientific Explanation and the Nature of Its Objects

Philosophy 310
Bryn Mawr College
Spring, 2003
Mondays, 2-4, Guild 210

Course Schedule

20 JanuaryThinking about science, philosophy, and the relation between them
(Grobstein, McCormack)
For consideration throughout the course:
  • Paul Grobstein, Getting It Less Wrong, the Brain's Way
  • Michael Krausz, Rightness and Reasons, Introduction (handout)
  • Micheal Krausz, Limits of Rightness, Introduction, Chapters 1 and 8 (handout)
  • Michael Krausz, "Interpretation and Its Objects" (handout)
27 JanuaryRealism, Constructivism, and Constructive Realism
(Krausz)
Karl Popper in Popper Selections, pp 101-161
  • Ch. 7 "The Problem of Induction"
  • Ch. 8 "The Problem of Demarcation"
  • Ch. 9 "Scientific Method"
  • Ch. 10 "Falsification versus Conventionalism"
  • Ch. 11 "The Empirical Basis"
3 FebruaryRealism, Constructivism, and Constructive Realism
(Krausz)
Karl Popper in Popper Selections, pp 162-198, 220-225
  • Ch. 12 "The Aim of Science"
  • Ch. 13 "The Growth of Scientific Knowledge"
  • Ch. 14 "Truth and Approximation to Truth"
  • Ch. 17 "Realism"
10 FebruaryRealism, Constructivism, and Constructive Realism
(Krausz)
Nelson Goodman, "The Way the World Is", pp 3-10 in Starmaking
Hilary Putnam, "Is There Still Anything to Say About Reality and Truth?", pp 11-27 in Starmaking
Israel Scheffler, "Epistemology of Objectivity", pp 29-58, in Starmaking
Bernard Harrison and Patricia Hanna, "Interpretations and Reality: Two Queries for Krausz" (handout)
17 FebruaryRealism, Constructivism, and Constructive Realism
(Krausz)
Review Session
Paper #1 Due Sunday, 23 February, 6 pm - POSTPONED to 2 March
24 FebruaryScientific Revolutions, Physics, and Indeterminacy
(McCormack)
Thomas Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, "Postscript", pp 174-210
Peter Kosso, Appearance and Reality: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Physics, Ch. 1-2, pp 1-30
(begin reading the whole of Kuhn)
3 MarchScientific Revolutions, Physics, and Indeterminacy
(McCormack)
Peter Kosso, Appearance and Reality: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Physics, Ch. 6-8, pp 110-186
(continue reading the whole of Kuhn)
10 MarchSpring Break
17 MarchScientific Revolutions, Physics, and Indeterminacy
(McCormack)
Thomas Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, particularly Ch. 9-13
Paper #2 Due Sunday, 23 March, 6 pm
24 MarchThe Concept of Evolution in Biology and Beyond
(Grobstein)
Daniel Dennet, Darwin's Dangerous Thought, selections (handout)
31 MarchComplexity and Emergence
(Grobstein)
Steven Johnson, Emergence, Intro and Ch. 1 (handout)
7 AprilThe Bipartite Brain as Indeterminate Explorer
(Grobstein)
George Lakoff and Mark Johnson, Philosophy in the Flesh, Ch. 6-8 (handout)
Paul Grobstein, Variability in Brain Function and Behavior
Paul Grobstein, Getting It Less Wrong, the Brain's Way
14 April Pragmatism
(Grobstein)
William James (see 7 April notes for web links)
  • "What Pragmatism Means"
  • "Pragmatism's Conception of Truth"
21 AprilIndeterminacy: Its Meanings and Implications
(Krausz, Grobstein, McCormack)
Review Session
28 AprilSummary
(Krausz, Grobstein, McCormack)
Final Discussion



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