Spring 2018





MLA Proseminar: Science, Truth, and Democracy

Term: 
Fall 2017
Online: 
No
Subject Area: 
PHILOSOPHY (PHIL)
Course Number: 
PHIL 525 640
Schedule: 
Wednesday 5:00pm-7:40pm
Day(s): 
Wednesday
Instructor: 

WEISBERG, MICHAEL

Primary Program: 
Master of Liberal Arts
Course Description: 

For the last four centuries, scientific research has provided our most reliable understanding of the world. Although the scientific revolution started modestly with attempts to understand stellar movement, we now know the age and constitution of the universe, the basis of heredity, and we can make and break chemical bonds at will. By all appearances, science seems to have made substantial progress from the scientific revolution to the global scientific enterprise of the 21st century. This course is about how science has generated this knowledge, and whether it has been as progressive and reliable as it seems. We will consider methodological issues such as the sources of scientific knowledge, objectivity, the growing importance of computation in the natural sciences, and the nature of modeling. We will examine products of scientific research: explanations, models, theories, and laws of nature. And we will discuss questions about science and values, including whether non-scientific values can and should enter scientific research, the relationship between science and religion, and the role of the public in guiding the scientific enterprise.