Programs by Campus


History and Philosophy of Science

Cross-Listed Courses

Core Courses
  • HPSC–X 506 Survey of History of Science up to 1750 (3 cr.) Ancient, Medieval, Renaissance, and Enlightenment science. 
  • HPSC–X 507 Survey of History of Science since 1750 (3 cr.) Growth of physical, biological, and social sciences during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Attention will be paid not only to the scientific contents but to the institutional and social context.
  • HPSC–X 551 Survey of the Philosophy of Science (3 cr.) Science claims to tell us what the world is like, even the part of the world we cannot see, and to explain why things happen the way they do. But these claims are controversial. Examination of competing models of scientific explanation and the ongoing debate over whether scientific theories should or even can be interpreted realistically. 
  • HPSC–X 552 Modern Philosophy of Science (3 cr.) Origin and charac­ter of twentieth-century philosophy of science. Examination of the historical development of the philosophy of science-in interaction with parallel developments within the sciences themselves-from 1800 to the early twentieth century. 
  • HPSC–X 556 History and Philosophy of Premodern Science (3 cr.) Historical survey of philosophical discussions of the nature of science, in the premodern period.
  • HPSC–X 706 Special Topics in the History and Philosophy of Science (2–4 cr.) Content and instructors will vary; students may thus re­ceive credit more than once. Admission by consent of instruc­tor or chairperson.
Seminars in History of Science
  • HPSC–X 601 Special Topics in Ancient Science (3 cr.) P: X506 or consent of instructor. The course deals with specific areas in science, philosophy, and technology within the chronological period stretching from 500 BCE to 500 CE. The focus will be texts, and in some instances, Latin or Greek may be required.
  • HPSC–X 602 Special Topics in Medieval and Renaissance Science (3 cr.) P: X506 or consent of instructor. The chronological scope of this course is roughly 500 to 1600 CE. Topics range over a broad spectrum, from the history of medieval and early modern technology to the emergence and development of the concept of natural magic. 
  • HPSC–X 603 Special Topics in Early Modern Science (3 cr.) P: X506 or consent of instructor. Course will deal with topics in the his­tory of science and culture primarily during the 16th and 17th centuries. 
  • HPSC–X 609 Special Topics in Modern Science (3 cr.) P: X507 or conĀ­sent of instructor. Selected topics.
  • HPSC–X 705 Special Topics in the History of Science (2–5 cr.) Content and instructors will vary; students may thus receive credit more than once. Admission by consent of instructor or chairperson.
History and Philosophy of the Social and Behavioral Sciences
  • HPSC–X 682 Inductive Logic and Probability (3 cr.) Topics in inductive logic such as Hume’s problem of induction, Hempel’s paradox of confirmation (The Raven paradox), Goodman’s new riddle of induction, and Bayesian confirmation theory. Analyses of concepts of probability, such as classical, propensity, frequency, and subjective (e.g., Bayesian) interpretations.
  • HPSC–X 755 Special Topics in the Philosophy of Science (2–5 cr.) Content and instructors will vary; students may thus receive credit more than once. Admission by consent of instructor or chairperson. 
  • HPSC–X 756 Special Topics in the Philosophy of Science (2–5 cr.) Content and instructors will vary; students may thus receive credit more than once. Admission by consent of instructor or chairperson.
  • HPSC–X 795 Minds, Brains, and Computers (3 cr.) Philosophical issues in computer and cognitive science.  Programming experience for beginners (in Mathematica).  Turing machines and computa­tion; computational theories of intelligence, consciousness, and vision; cellular automata and the behavior of complex sys­tems; chaos theory and fractals; problem solving, search, and two-person games; knowledge representation and computer reasoning.
Seminar in History and Philosophy of Science
  • HPSC–X 521 Research Topics in the History and Philosophy of Science (1–3 cr.) Historical investigation of science to deepen under­standing of issues arising in the philosophy of science, and application of philosophy of science to illuminate topics in the history of science. Focus may be on substantive historical and philosophical issues arising in a specific science (or cluster of related sciences), or on general methodological issues concern­ing the relationship between history of science and philosophy of science.
History of Philosopy and Modern Physical Science
  • HPSC–X 687 Seminar: Philosophical Problems of Chaos Theory (3 cr.) Philosophical examination of nonlinear dynamics and chaotic phenomena.  Topics include: modeling, unpredictability and determinism, free will and chaos in psychology, implications for historical and social sciences, information and complexity.
  • HPSC–X 691 Seminar: Philosophical Problems of Space, Time, and Spacetime (4 cr.) P: X491 or consent of instructor. The direction of time; causal theory of time; intrinsic and extrinsic metrics; congruence in geometry and chronometry; spacetime in special and general relativity. 
  • HPSC–X 790 Space, Time and Relativity of Theory (3 cr.) Topics in the philosophy of space, time, and space-time. Theory of motion and Zeno’s paradoxes; St. Augustine on time; time and becom­ing; relational versus absolute theories of space and time; Mach’s principle; introduction to Einstein’s theory of relativity and space-time.
  • HPSC–X 791 Philosophical Issues in Quantum Theory (3 cr.) Exami­nation of philosophical problems and challenges raised by quantum theory, with topics including Heisenberg uncertainty relations, nonlocality and EPR paradox, hidden variables, interpretations of quantum theory. No previous knowledge of quantum theory assumed.
History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences
  • HPSC–X 508 History of Biology (3 cr.) P: Junior standing or consent of instructor. Survey of the most important developments in biology from antiquity to the twenty-first century. Examina­tion of such topics as changes in evolution theory, concepts of development and inheritance, instruments and the rise of the laboratory, and physiology.
  • HPSC–X 632 Seminar: Historical Problems in Evolutionary Biology (3 cr.) P: X325 or X408/X508 or consent of instructor. Historical ex­amination of such topics as pre-Darwinism, Naturphilosophie, Darwin and The Origin of Species, rise of modern systematics, and concepts of race. Content will vary; students may receive credit more than once.
  • HPSC–X 693 Philosophy of Biology (3 cr.) Survey of the important concepts in biology from antiquity to the present. Emphasis on changes in evolution theory and concepts of development and inheritance. A familiarity with biology is helpful but not neces­sary. 
Issues in Philosophy of Science
  • HPSC–X 642 History of Psychology (3 cr.) Explores the scientific, professional, and cultural dimensions of modern psychology, including its emergence as an academic discipline in the late nineteenth century. Focus on interpretive issues raised by recent scholarship.
  • HPSC–X 654 Seminar: Philosophy of the Social Sciences (4 cr.) P: X552 or consent of instructor. Examination of such topics as objectivity, generality, social laws, role of values in social inquiry, methodological individualism, and relation of the social sciences to psychology, operationism, behaviorism, and other reductivist proposals.
Science in Cultural Contexts
  • HPSC–X 301 Growth of Scientific Establishment (3 cr.) Please note: This course is not currently being offered. 
  • HPSC–X 645 History of American Science (3 cr.) An historical explora­tion of the intellectual and institutional development of science in the United States from colonial times to the present. Exam­ines recent scholarship in the history of American science and related historiographical trends and issues. 
  • HPSC–X 670 Science and Gender (3 cr.) The role of science and technology in constructions of masculinity and femininity from 1600 to present. Historical and philosophical analysis of the interaction between science and technology and ideologies of gender. Evaluation of proposals for transforming science.
  • HPSC–X 671 Topics in the Science of Sex and Gender (3 cr.) P: May vary with topic. Possible topics include history of theories of sexuality, critique of current scientific concepts of sex and gen­der, philosophical perspectives on sexology, and the history of theories of sex evolution and determination. May be repeated twice for credit with different topic. 

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