Honors | Scientific Controversies (HON)
H205 | 26435 | Noretta Koertge


TuTh 9:30-10:45am

Text: Theories of Scientific Progress: An Introduction
by John Losee

The central question we will ask is: What kinds of controversies
arise in science and how do they get resolved? What roles are played
by new experiments, new theories, personal charisma, political
pressure?

We'll look at a wide range of case studies, including famous ones
from the history of natural science such as Aristotle/Ptolemy vs
Galileo/Copernicus, phlogiston vs oxygen theories of combustion,
controversies about Darwinian Evolution, and the debate about
Continental Drift.  We'll also look at recent examples such as Cold
Fusion, Stem Cell Research and something on Climate Change.

Typical assignments will be short answer problem sets, 2-3 page
essays and a short final paper (8-10 pages).

Since this class satisfies a distribution requirement we'll place
emphasis on the science as well as on the philosophical issues.
However, the presentation of each example is self-contained and does
not presuppose a strong science background.