History and Philosophy Of Science | Scientific Reasoning
X200 | 18190 | C. Mannouris


Scientific Reasoning

Every aspect of contemporary life is permeated by the techno
products of modern science.  We are fascinated by books and
television programs on purely theoretical topics such as cosmology,
chaos theory or cognitive science.  Yet an astonishing number of
people are also firmly committed to claims that appear quite
implausible in the light of modern science.  Many believe for
instance, that a "personalized" number is more apt to win the
lottery, that premonitions should be taken seriously or that there
is "something" to astrology, flying saucers, alien abductions and
aura adjustments.  In this course, we will examine various aspects
of scientific reasoning and draw comparisons with, for instance,
common sense reasoning.  Topics will include nitty-gritty issues,
such as causes vs. correlations, as well as broader discussions on
how to read science news releases critically. The different topics
will be enriched with case studies and examples from the history of
science and/or current scientific practices. There will be a number
of homework assignments, two exams, and one
short paper.