History and Philosophy Of Science | Scientific Reasoning
X200 | 18239 | Valles, S


Scientific Reasoning
X200
Tuesday, Thursday
1:00 p.m.-2:15 p.m.
Sean Valles


Why is astronomy universally accepted as a science while astrology
is not?  What makes a scientific discipline “legitimate”; and why
should we care? What sorts of evidence and reasoning should we use
when we must decide how to explain a phenomenon that we do not
understand?  The methods, assumptions, and values of scientific
reasoning underlie facets of society ranging from the approval of
new medical treatments to the current debate over the teaching of
evolution in public schools.
	The goal of this course is to teach the skills necessary for
an individual to analyze scientific arguments.  This includes
discussion of: deductive vs. inductive reasoning, interpreting
statistical data, and methods of evaluating hypotheses.  The
coursework will be centered on a general scientific reasoning text.
The text’s conceptual content will be supplemented by short
readings, drawn from diverse scientific fields, exemplifying the
concepts in practical settings.  There will be weekly graded
homework, at least one exam, and a final paper.