History and Philosophy Of Science | Science Revolutions: Plato to Nato
X102 | 18238 | Matt Schmelzer


Science Revolutions: Plato to Nato
X102
Tuesday, Thursday
9:30 a.m.-10:45 a.m.
Sarah Smith


This course surveys the development of science from antiquity to the
present. While our focus will be on the development of scientific
ideas, we will also examine the social, organizational, and
practical contexts for scientific discovery and the often dramatic
repercussions which have accompanied “revolutionary” scientific
transformations in the history of Western science. We will begin by
exploring Kuhn's articulation of scientific revolution in his
classic "Structure of Scientific Revolutions" in order to establish
some baseline definitions of science and scientific revolution. Over
the course of the semester we will be testing and reassessing these
definitions in thecontext of our exploration of the history of
science. Topics to be covered include: Greek and Islamic science,
Medieval natural philosophy, Renaissance science and technology,
occultism during the Age of Enlightenment, significant "paradigm
shifts" in cosmology from antiquity to the present, technology and
early modern science, theology and evolutionary theory, and the
history of anatomical inquiry. The course will consist of
lectures, readings and discussions, and at least one field trip.
Grades will be based on weekly Oncourse quizzes, three exams, and
active participation in discussion. There will also be opportunities
for bonus research. The course assumes no background in science or
history.  Readings for the course come from a wide variety of
sources, including the writings of scientists (such as Galen,
Galileo, Newton, Darwin, and Einstein), historians, philosophers,
and in the final week of the class, writers of speculative science
fiction.