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Indiana University Bloomington

Courses

 

Fall 2018

HPSC-X 100 Anthropocene Knowledge: Earth History inthe Making
G Rispoli
Class #37021
Second Eight Weeks
9:00am-12:30pm MW GY143

What is the Anthropocene we live in? How does it differ from the previous geological epoch? How dangerous has our environment, including the air we breathe, become? This course provides an introduction to the notion of the Anthropocene—the idea that humans are the main agents of transformation of the planet—from a perspective that intertwines the sciences and humanities. It reconstructs the context in which the Anthropocene emerged as a scientific and cultural theory, as well as the central narratives that characterize the debate about human impact on the Earth over the last two centuries. Ideas, practices and models that have arisen since the 19th century to address changes in humanity–nature interactions will be discussed, ranging from accounts of the Earth as a self-regulating system endangered by humankind, to less deliberate reflections on the exploitation of natural resources and industrial power, and finally, to the emergence of transnational research on the biosphere and the global environment during the Cold War era. In our weekly class, we will read and comment on several texts that exemplify approaches and discourses related to the Anthropocene as a concrete, interdisciplinary topic at the intersection of the sciences and humanities. We will also discuss some artistic representations and objects to further stimulate in-class discussion.

 

HPSC-X 102 Revolutions in Science: Plato to Nato
S Gliboff
Class #35811
Regular Academic Session
10:10A-11:00A MWF PY109

An introduction to the formative steps in the scientific tradition as well as philosophical investigations of the nature of science. The course will survey in a chronological sequence aspects of the Aristotelian world view, the Copernican revolution, the mechanical philosophy, the chemical and Darwinian revolution, and the rise of twentieth century science. Where did modern science come from? Is it a stockpile of technique and knowledge that has accumulated slowly and steadily over the centuries? This course presents a more complex and dynamic picture, in which the history of science also takes unexpected twists, turns and conceptual leaps, in response to changing social, political and religious interests, and to shifting scientific assumptions, methods, and forms of organization. The course introduces the most important formative steps in the scientific tradition, each of which overturned earlier ways of investigating and understanding nature. These include Aristotelian physics, Ptolomaic astronomy and Galenic medicine in the ancient and Medieval world; the scientific revolutions of the 15th- through the 18th centuries that ushered in Copernican astronomy, Newtonian physics, and new ideas about physiology and medicine; the chemical and Darwinian revolutions; and the rise of modern physics and other 20th-century innovations and problems. This survey of scientific change will also be used to introduce foundational issues in the history and philosophy of science, such as: What distinguishes science as a unique method of investigation? What is the relationship between theory and evidence? and What is the the structure of scientific change?

 

HPSC-X 111 Issues in BIOL-Medical Ethics
E Arnet
Class #12354
09:30A-10:45A TR TE F106

Investigation of ethical issues that arise in the biological and medical sciences, the impact of these issues on the behavior of scientists during the conduct of scientific research, and on the role of science in discussions about ethics and public policy. The course will focus on specific cases and debates arising from and within biology and medicine, and in related fields such as ecology or clinical psychology. The course will provide an introduction to critical reasoning in ethics and an overview of major ethical theories. No prior background is required.

HPSC-X 200 Scientific Reasoning
L Savion
Class #6903
Regular Academic Session
10:10A-11:00A TR BH 109
Discussion: #11254 09:05A-09:55A F LH102
Discussion: #35877 09:05A-09:55A F SY001
Discussion: #35876 10:10A-11:00A F SY001
Discussion: #35878 11:15A-12:05P F SY001

The pursuit of scientific knowledge involves systematic observations, formulating testable hypotheses, and developing a theory consist with the available data and other acceptable theories. This course illuminates the critical methodologies that distinguish science from pseudoscience, such as inductive strength, conceptual rigor, causation, valid inference, and falsifiability. Core examples will be drawn from medicine and from cognitive science.

 

HPSC-X 200 Scientific Reasoning
J Cat
Class #32037
Second Eight Weeks
05:45P-08:15P MW LH102

Science is the most successful way humans have found to produce knowledge of the world. But the success of science lies in the fact that it is not just a collection of facts and theories -- science's success comes from critical attitudes and methodologies.This course covers topics essential for understanding scientific reasoning.  By the end of the course, students will understand the concepts of logical validity and soundness, laws of nature and scientific models, causation, principles of statistical reasoning, experimental design, and pseudoscience.  Other topics may include ethics in science, decision theory, and scientific realism.

 

HPSC-X 205 Introduction to Medical History
D Bertoloni Meli
Class #32046
Regular Academic Session
02:30P-03:45P MW WH004

This class provides an introduction to the history of medicine from the Hippocratic Oath in ancient Greece to the 20th century. We will discuss major features of the medical world, including: transformations in anatomy and physiology, such as the discovery of the circulation of the blood and the role of microscopy; changing concepts of disease and therapeutic practices culminating with the germ theory of disease, cellular pathology, and the new understanding of cancer; shifts in institutional settings, from the bedside to the hospital and the rise of the laboratory. The course would be of interest to all students with an interest in a career in the medical professions (broadly conceived) and also to students interested in history and the life-sciences. There are no pre-requisites to take the class. This course meets requirements for IUB GenEd S&H credit and COLL (CASE) S&H Breadth of Inquiry credit.

 

HPSC-X 206 Who's Afraid of Radiation
J Cat
Class #14041
Regular Academic Session
01:00P-02:15P TR GL101

Who’s afraid of nuclear weapons, nuclear plants or X-rays? Why? The course offers an introductory look at the uses and fears of radiation and nuclear power. It examines the history of uses and fears of nuclear power and radiation. It starts with the discovery of radioactivity, the origins of nuclear research, the first radiation craze and the development of the atomic bomb. It examines risks and benefits of nuclear power and radioactivity in the age of climate change, alternative power sources and medical technology. It emphasizes the methodological, political, moral challenges of judging risks and making decisions about human health and environmental safety. The course looks selectively at two interrelated histories: the history of nuclear research and nuclear weapons, with an emphasis on the making and testing of the atomic bomb and the H-bomb, and the history of risks and benefits of radioactivity. The two histories are connected through scientific, technological, political and moral issues. These issues are often inseparable; one common challenge is making scientific, political and medical decisions based on a rational and objective assessment of risks and benefits. In realistic situations the challenge involves considering particular circumstances, interests and values: for instance, how we evaluate evidence and hypotheses and identify new kinds of entities, how we define, measure and value personal health and environmental safety, how we factor in economic cost, scientific goals and political interests or how we blur the distinction between the natural and the artificial, discovery and invention, experimentation and explanation, target and tool, rational and irrational fear, laboratory and battlefield, or war and terrorism. Nuclear weapon research changed science itself and the possibility of mass-extinction has given human technology renewed significance and given scientists renewed moral responsibility. Many of these anxieties and challenges have been dramatized in public information and popular culture.

 

HPSC-X 207 Occult in Western Civilization
W Newman
Class #11251
Regular Academic Session
09:30A-10:45A MW GA1100

The occult is a theme that is deeply ingrained in the history of Western Civilization.  From antiquity to the present, segments of our society have laid claim to a secret wisdom that could only be revealed to those who are worthy of its exercise.  Such “occult” pursuits as alchemy, astrology, and magic played an important role in the formation of modern science during the scientific revolution of seventeenth century, and subsequently had a major impact on poetry, music and the pictorial arts.  And yet, if we considered pursuits that are usually deemed to make up “the occult,” it is remarkable how little these fields have to do with one another.  What does alchemy, and artisanal pursuit related to metallurgy, have in common with divinatory practices such as astrology, oneiromancy, or crystal-gazing?  What does witchcraft have to do with extraterrestrial life?  The Occult in Western Civilization will answer these questions and others.  It will also argue that the occult sciences-especially alchemy, astrology, and natural magic-were originally predicted on quite reasonable bases consistent with the best science and philosophy of their time, however, they may have been altered in late twentieth-century culture.  By thinking carefully about the relationships among science, philosophy, and those disciplines traditionally classified as “occult” students will learn about the nature of scientific knowledge more generally.  The basic goals of the course, then, will be to instill a historical understanding of the occult while at the same time stimulating philosophical reflection on the nature of scientific knowledge in general.

HPSC-X 240 Engaging Science
J Schickore
Class #34732
Above class meets second eight weeks only
Regular Academic Session
04:40P-07:10P MW ED1220

Modern science is a highly specialized activity, pursued by trained experts at research labs or universities. But of course, science is not confined to the laboratory or academy. The outcome of scientific research informs and shapes our society and culture at all levels. We encounter science in the media, in museums, or in the court room. Politicians, lawyers, and other professionals draw on, assess, and sometimes seek to restrict scientific activity. This course explores how science engages with the public, how the public engages with science, and how the relation between science and the public has changed over time.

HPSC-X 407/507 Surv of History of Science 1750
S Gliboff
Class #36756 (HPSC X 407) Class #32099 (HPSC X 507)
Regular Academic Session
12:30P-3:00P M MO228

This course provides an advanced introduction to and survey of the history of Western science since 1750. Emphasizing recent secondary literature on canonical episodes, the course will consider the physical, biological, and earth sciences, science in international comparison and in social, political, intellectual, and institutional context, as well as the history of technology and medicine. There are no prerequisites, but some knowledge of modern science or modern European or American history will be helpful.

HPSC-X 411/511 Science and Values
E Lloyd
Class #33242 (HPSC X 411) Class #33304 (HPSC X 511)
Topic: Science and Values
Regular Academic Session
03:15P-05:15P T MO228

In this seminar, we will explore social, epistemic, and pragmatic values and their roles in scientific theory, exploration and explanation. Our discussion will range from analytic philosophy’s vision of scientific explanation to scientists’ own visions of the practice of science and the possible roles that values could take there. We will discuss the various meanings of objectivity and its role in science, as well as a variety of biases and how they may be mitigated within the practice of science. The seminar is intended for scientists and philosophers, as well as humanists in general. Grading will be based on weekly writing assignments as well as two term papers and one or two formal oral presentations to the group. The weekly writing assignments consist in reflections on any aspect of the readings for that week. Term paper topics will be assigned.

HPSC X 501 Professional Development
S Glibboff J Schickore
Class #9817
Regular Academic Session
12:00P-01:00P T MO228

Designed for beginning HPS graduate students, the goal is to learn about and discuss the professional norms and practices of HPS and related fields, in preparation for conducting research, writing grant proposals and job applications, presenting papers at conferences, writing and publishing, and teaching. Part of the seminar will be organized as a series of presentations and discussions led by HPS faculty, as well as the participating students.

HPSC X 705 Special Topics in the History of Science (S & H) 
W Newman
Class #32103
Regular Academic Session
01:00P-03:00P W MO228


From the time of Sir Edward Tylor and Sir James Frazer in the Victorian Era, it has been widely assumed that the “occult arts” of magic, alchemy, and astrology were integrally related.  Not only did they rely on the same assumptions, the argument goes, they were also fundamentally opposed to right reason.  Although Tylor and Frazer are no longer endorsed by the anthropological community, of course, their approach still resonates in important ways with more modern historians of culture, science and religion.  The Weberian concept of the “disenchantment of the world,” for example, still forms a crucial axis of medieval and early modern intellectual history, as seen in the recent work of Michael D. Bailey and Alexandra Walsham.  The present course will example this topos of magic-science-religion by means of a combination of primary and secondary sources, the latter drawn from a variety of fields.  By looking at period writers on the “occult sciences” ranging from Roger Bacon in the thirteenth century to Agrippa von Nettesheim and Giambattista della Porta in the sixteenth, we will test the assumptions and claims of historians.    

 

HPSC X 706 Historically Informed Philosophy of Science : The Nineteenth Century
J Schickore
Class #32102
Regular Academic Session
08:30A-11:00A T MO228

In 1872, in his work History and Root of the Principe of the Conservation of Energy, the philosopher, scientist and historianErnst Mach stated: “There is only one way to enlightenment: historical studies.” Like Mach, several nineteenth-century scholars advanced, and argued for, historically informed analyses of the nature and methods of science. This course examines how, and why, these scholars integrated knowledge of the actual practice and history of science into their philosophies. Readings include works by William Whewell, Ernst Mach, and Pierre Duhem.

 

HPSC-X 733 Colloquium Series
A Hagar
Class #11225
Regular Academic Session
04:00P-06:00P R WY 005

 

 

HPSC X 755 SP Topics in Philosophy of Science: History and Philosophy of Mind Brain Science
O Pessoa
Class #32043
Regular Academic Session
03:15P-06:00P M MO228

The next large-scale revolution in science might take place within what is sometimes called “MindBrain science”, encompassing approaches from neuroscience, cognitive science, and philosophy of mind. What is the nature of consciousness and how does it arise in the brain? Are the immediate brain correlates of consciousness located somewhere in the cortex or in subcortical regions, or does consciousness emerge globally? What clues are given by altered states of consciousness? The course will start with an introduction to the philosophy of mind, emphasizing thought-experiments and definitions, from a materialist perspective. Twentieth-century neuroscience will be explored historically, and contemporary views from neuroscientists and neurophilosophers will be studied.  

Most readings will be of papers or short tracts in neuroscience and philosophy of mind.

 

COLL C 104 Critical Approaches: Social and Historical
N Bertoloni
Class #7631
Regular Academic Session
01:25P-02:15P MW MY 130
Discussion sections:
#7632 RSTR 01:25P-02:15P F BH221
#9594 RSTR 01:25P-02:15P F RA B111
#7633 RSTR 02:30P-03:20P F RA B111
#9359 RSTR 02:30P-03:20P F BH221

This class covers the transformations in knowledge and society from the Renaissance to the 18th century. We will study key episodes and developments in the age of the invention of the printing press, the development of fire weapons, and great voyages of discovery. We will learn about the study of nature, such as the great anatomical discoveries of the Renaissance, the Copernican Revolution, the discovery of the circulation of the blood, and of universal gravity. The course focuses on shifts in the methods of inquiry in the life sciences and in the physical-mathematical disciplines, as well as on major figures from Leonardo da Vinci to Isaac Newton.

 

COLL C 105 Quantum Mysteries
A Hagar
Class #11708
Regular Academic Session
10:10A-11:00A MW WH 120
Discussion sections:
#11710 RSTR 11:15A-12:05P F A151
#11711 RSTR 12:20P-01:10P F TE F104
#33404 RSTR 12:20P-01:10P F AD A151
#31819 RSTR 01:25P-02:15P F SY 0008 (Honors Course)

Quantum theory is the best theory we have of microscopic things, but it is also extremely hard to understand what exactly the theory is saying. We will begin this course by describing a few simple quantum experiments to see just why the theory is so strange, and then we will begin to look more closely at the formalism of the theory and at the philosophical puzzles raised by its interpretations. After suggesting several solutions, we shall adopt a more instrumental view, on which these puzzles may be considered an important resource that, if harnessed, may have some surprising implications on the way we manipulate information and perform computations. Along the way, we will learn how to think critically and carefully about science and scientific theories, and how to approach a given problem from several different philosophical angles. The course will have both lecture and discussion. There will be weekly writing assignments of 1 page each (30%), three small quizzes (30%), a group project (20%) and a final multiple-choice exam (20%). The final exam is a necessary requirement for the final grade. It will be waived for the 2 students with the best group presentation!

 

COLL C 105 Putting Science into Practice
A Hagar
Class #7556
Regular Academic Session
09:05A-09:55A F WH 120
Discussion sections:
# 31831 RSTR 09:05A-09:55A F AD A151
# 31832 RSTR 10:10A-11:00A F AD A151
# 31833 RSTR 11:15A-12:05P F WI C111
# 31834 RSTR 12:20P-01:10P F PY 115

The course is intended to expose students to the methods that allow scientists to translate hypotheses and empirical discoveries into scientific knowledge. We will start with a general discussion on what science is, and explore some historical cases from the natural sciences where observations and hypotheses led to discoveries of new phenomena through experimentation. We then focus on scientific methodologies in the life sciences, and in particular the usage of various experimental models and big data. We will end with a discussion on experimental failure and the role of replication. Besides the lectures, the course will include guest presentations from IU Biology and bioengineering faculty and weekly discussion sessions. It will culminate in a group project that will equip students with the necessary skills to actively participate in future research projects in the life sciences at IU.