Ideals of Scientific Explanation and the Nature of Its Objects

Philosophy=Biology 310
Bryn Mawr College
Spring, 2006
Tuesdays, 1-3:30

The overriding theme of this course is an exploration of the nature of scientific knowledge in the context of the realist/constructivist controversy in the philosophy of science. It will seek an accommodation between realism and constructivism. Further topics include evolution theory, complexity theory, the brain, and science as story telling as they bear on the overriding theme.


17 JanMK, PGIntroduction:
Applied philosophy: the demarcation problem inherent in the controversy about evolution and intelligent design
Intelligent Design and the Story of Evolution: No Need for Drawing Lines in the Sand;
see also Evolution and Intelligent Design: Perspectives and Resources
24 JanMKRealism and the Aim of ScienceKarl Popper in Popper Sections, Chapters 7-12, 17
31 JanMK, PGConstructivism and Scientific RevolutionsKuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions
7 FebPGAppearance and Reality in PhysicsKosso, Appearance and Reality, Chapters 1,2,8
14 FebMKScientific RealismNelson Goodman, "The Way the World Is"
Michael McKenna, "A Metaphyics for Krausz"
Paper #1 due Monday February 20
21 FebMKMore about Reality and TruthHilary Putnam, "Is There Still Anything to Say About Reality and Truth?"
Carl Hempel, "Comments on Goodman's Wonderful Ways of Wordmaking"
28 FebPGScience and the BrainGrobstein, "Getting It Less Wrong the Brain's Way"
Krausz, "Replies to Grobstein"
14 MarchPGScience and Story TellingGrobstein, "Sciencce as Story Telling and Story Revising
see also Science as Story Telling in Action
21 MarchMKOn Reference Frames in ScienceBernard Harrison and Patricia Hanna, "Interpretation and Reality: Two Queries for Krausz" and "Language, Literature, and Reality"
Paper #2 due Monday March 27
28 MarchMKProjectionism or RelationismChanda Gupta, "Constructive Realism and the Question of Imputation"
Michael Krausz, "Interpretation and Its Objects": A Synoptic View
4 AprilPGEvolution, Intelligent Design, and ScienceStanley Fish "Academic Cross Dressing: How Intelligent Design Gets Its Arguments from the Left
Daniel Dennett, Darwin's Dangerous Idea, beginning chapters
11 AprilPGEmergence, Intelligent Design, and ScienceGeorge Lakoff, Philosopy in the Flesh, Chapters 6-8
Steven Johnson, Emergence, beginning chapters
18 AprilPGPragmatism, Continental Philosophy, FeminismImre Lakatos, Science and Pseudoscience
Paul Feyerabend, Against Method
Feminist Epistemology and Philosophy of Science
William James, Pragmatism's Conception of Truth
25 AprilMK, PGConclusions and Extensions

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