Skip to main content
Indiana University Bloomington



Spring 2018

HPSC-X 102 Revolutions in Science: Plato to Nato(3)
N Zautra
Class #3002
Regular Academic Session
M/W 2:30p-3:20p GA 1112

Class Disscussion #10590 F 2:30p-3:20p SY 103 N Zautra


Course Description TBA

HPSC-X 102 Revolutions in Science: Plato to NATO (3)
J Slattery
Class # 33251
Second Eight Weeks
T/TH 9:00a-11:00a BH 219


The aim of this class is to provide an introduction to the history of science by offering a basic periodization and outline of some of the major intellectual, social, and institutional transformations in the sciences across time, and by gaining familiarity with some key phases and questions. We will pay special attention to the rise and changing role of experimentation from antiquity (or the ancient Greco-Roman worlds) to the 20th century.

HPSC-X 104 Science and Culture (3)
S Gliboff
Class #31366
Regular Academic Session
M/W 11:15a-12:30p LI 033

An introduction to the study of science as a human activity that both contributes to cultural change and responds to it. A mix of recent and historical cases will be presented and compared, which will bring out some of the complex
relations between science (also medicine and technology) and the arts, literature, commerce, religion, philosophy, sports, food, and changing conceptions of gender, race, the human body, the human mind, and the order of nature.

HPSC-X 111 Issues in Biological Medical Ethics (3)
E Arnet
Class #13556 SY 103
Regular Academic Session
T/TH 1:00p-2:15p

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(3)
J Cat
Class #11470
Regular Academic Session
T/TH 3:30a-10:45a JH A106

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 200 Scientific Reasoning(3)
R O'Loughlin
Class #14484
Second Eight Weeks
MW 10:00a-11:30a BH 006

In this course, we will investigate the kinds of reasoning involved in the pursuit of scientific knowledge. Some of the topics we will discuss in this course: the importance of studying scientific reasoning; theoretical and causal hypotheses and how they are to be evaluated; the various attempts that have been made to distinguish between science and pseudoscience. After taking this course students should have a better understanding of what scientific reasoning includes, and how it is used in various contexts. Different historical episodes, some of which are included in Giere's  ​Understanding Scientific Reasoning (1997), will be used to study scientific reasoning at work. Because this is a philosophy course, we will be primarily interested in philosophical questions about the nature and justification of scientific knowledge. However, throughout the course we will be tying these philosophical questions about scientific reasoning to issues relevant to science today.

HPSC-X 200 Scientific Reasoning (3)
L Oliveira
Class #14292
Second Eight Weeks
T/TH 2:30p-4:00p GA 1134

In this course, we will investigate the kinds of reasoning involved in the pursuit of scientific knowledge. What you should take away from the course, in the end, is a better understanding of how scientific reasoning actually proceeds, along with critically evaluating scientific claims in context. Because this is a philosophy course, we will primarily be interested in philosophical questions about the nature and justification of scientific knowledge. The emphasis of inquiry in any given section might reflect the particular instructor's area of expertise.​

HPSC-X 205 Introduction to Medical History (3)
D Bertoloni Meli
Class #13636
Regular Academic Session
M/W 1:00p-2:15p SY 103

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.


HPSC-X 207 Occult in Western Civilization (3)
W Newman
Class #13555
Regular Academic Session
M/W 9:30a-10:45a WH 111

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 305 History and Philosophy of Medicine (3)
E Lloyd
Class #31368
Second Eight Weeks
T/TH 2:30p-3:45p WH 004

We will study the history of medicine from the time of the Greeks to the 20th C. through reading the biographies of influential doctors, and at the same time study issues in contemporary public health and medicine, all taken from contemporary sources provided on Canvas. Our topics will include the issues of genetic diseases and predispositions: What does it mean to say that a person “has a gene for” heart disease or breast cancer? What are the medical and social ethics of smoking, alcohol use, and eating right? Are we completely free to choose these behaviors? Should we disallow large soft drinks? Other topics include the AIDS/HIV case as a modern crisis in public health, the effects of stress, declining sperm counts, defining mental illness, and whether vaccines are dangerous. Finally, we will consider new, emerging challenges to medicine and public health.

HPSC-X 451/551 Scientific Understanding/Survey of the Philosophy of Science (3)
E Lloyd
Class #11414 (HPSC X 451) Class # (HPSC X 551) 11415
Topic: TBA
Regular Academic Session
W 9:00a-11:00a BH 664

We will review some of the most influential texts and figures of Anglo-American philosophy of science in the 20th-21st Century, aiming to give both undergraduate and graduate students a strong background in the key positions and issues that serve as the background of the field today. Students will read, study, discuss, and write about popular as well as controversial figures such as Karl Popper, Thomas S. Kuhn, Carl Hempel, N.R. Hanson, Imre Lakatos, Helen Longino, Bas van Fraassen, Ernst Nagel, Carol Cleland, Nancy Cartwright, Ian Hacking, and others. The syllabus for the course is oriented around topics for each week, and while the reading list is not long, the students are expected to read each selection three times before seminar meets. Class requirements involve weekly writings, seminar presentations, and a term paper on a choice of assigned topics (this last requirement is for the graduate students only). The emphasis in this seminar is on sympathetic, fair interpretations of author’s writings, respectful and deep discussion of the philosophical issues, and the development of responsible criticism. We usually also have lots of fun in this seminar.

HPSC X 501 Professional Development (0.5)
W Newman and D Bertoloni Meli
Class #11020
Regular Academic Session
T 8:30a-9:30a BH 664
Discussion sections:


HPSC X 705 Special Topics in the History of Science (S & H)  (1-5)
TOPIC: Magic, Science, and Religion: Topics in Medieval and Renaissance Magic, Alchemy, and Astrology
W Newman
Class #13635
Regular Academic Session
T 9:30a-12:00p
Discussion sections:

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 Special Topics in History and Philosophy of Science-Perspective on Disease (2-4)
D Bertoloni Meli
Class #31365
Regular Academic Session
M/W 11:15a-12:30p BH 664
Discussion sections:

In this class we will discuss disease from multiple perspectives by reading a selection of primary and secondary sources ranging from the Hippocratic Corpus to contemporary cancer research. The class is open to students from different disciplines and with different interests and backgrounds, including historical, philosophical, literary, biological, artistic, and anthropological perspectives. While we will be reading a few articles and books (such as Georges Canguilhem,. On the Normal and the Pathological. With an Introduction by Michel Foucault (Dordrecht: Reidel, 1978); Michel Foucault, The Birth of the Clinic. An Archeology of Medical Perception. Translated by A.M. Sheridan (Bristol: Tavistock, 1976); Siddhartha Mukherjee, The Emperor of All Maladies. A Biography of Cancer (New York: Scribner, 2010); etc.) I would be happy to tailor portions of the readings to students’ interests. You are welcome to get in touch if you have any questions or suggestions.


HUBI B 400 Complex Problems of Humanity (3)
A Hagar
Class #10591
Regular Academic Session
9:30a-10:45a MO 107
Topic: Run For Your Life: Physical Exercise and Cancer

The class will focus on the effects of endurance training on the initiation and progression of solid tumors. We shall discuss the evidence, the hypothetical mechanisms behind these effects, and the potential implications for prognosis, diagnostics, and therapy. In order to expose the students to various perspectives on the topic, the course will include an active research component on current literature. It will be based on frontal lectures, discussions and on group projects that will allow the students to transfer the knowledge acquired throughout the course, and to practice basic scientific communication skills.


COLL-C 104 Criticle Approaches: Social and Historical (3)
TOPIC: What is Science and Who Cares?
J Cat
Class #8879
Regular Academic Session
M/W 3:35p-4:25p JH A100
Discussion sections:

Class #9570 F 1:25p-2:15p AC C116 Discussion Leader-J Aames
Class #9517 F 2:30p-3:20p BH 206 Discussion Leader- J Aames



Science is not one thing or one kind of thing. Yet knowing whether something is scientific often matters. This course addresses the question of the nature of science by surveying a broad range of aspects of that complex world that for centuries has been identified as science as a human activity from different perspectives that focus on specific ideas and questions, and different methodologies: from facts to values, from evolving basic notions of what we know (scientific models of matter, mind, life and society) and how we know it (methods of inquiry) to a number of aspects of science that reveal its important links to many aspects of human nature and culture (ethical, religious, political, cognitive and aesthetic values and interests). In fact, science could not survive and develop without them. Science is radically human, so it is no surprise that it expresses what characterizes our humanity: the myriad of human capacities and conflicts, interests and resources, strengths and limitations. Science is an enduring part of our world, our history and our civilization. To ignore it is to dismiss and neglect all that, and to diminish our role and responsibilities in it