PhilofScisylSum10 - San Jos State University Department of...

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San José State University Department of Philosophy Philosophy 160 – Philosophy of Science, Summer 2010 Instructor: James Lindahl Office Location: Faculty Office Building 205 Telephone: 408-924-4501 Email: [email protected] Office Hours: MTWR 8:00-8:50, and immediately after the class Class Days/Time: TR 9:00 – 1:00 Classroom: BBC 123 Prerequisites: Completion of WST Upper division standing GE/SJSU Studies Category: Area: R Course Description Philosophy of Science is an investigation into the nature, purpose, and impact of scientific reasoning and theory. Much of what we believe to be true in modern culture is based on our understanding of science. But what do scientific theories really tell us? We will investigate the relationship between scientific theories and reality, the methods of science in connection to “objective” reality, and the role that science and scientific reasoning has on shaping our beliefs and values in the modern world. During the first half of the semester, we will explore philosophical issues in the physical sciences. From gravity to evolution, we’ll explore the development of various theories, their justifications, and how it is that they ground our understanding of the world. During the second half of the semester, we will investigate the nature and methods of the social sciences. Are there “laws” of social behavior? Do social theories function like physical theories? Do people operate according to describable criteria of rationality? Can we understand a society in anything like the way we understand a physical process? We will finish by reflecting on the role that scientific reasoning (both physical and social) plays in shaping our values, the way we live, and the way we understand the meaning of life, the universe, and everything.
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Course Goals and Student Learning Objectives Philosophy 160 satisfies upper division G.E. area R. Objectives for this G.E. area include 1. Goals Students will cultivate knowledge of the scientific study of the physical universe and its life forms. Students will understand and appreciate the interrelationship of science and human beings to each other. 2. Student Learning Objectives Within the particular scientific content of the course, a student should be able to: - Demonstrate an understanding of the methods and limits of scientific investigation; - Distinguish science from pseudo-science; and - Apply a scientific approach to answer questions about the earth and environment. Required Texts/Readings Godfrey-Smith, Peter – Theory and Reality , University of Chicago Press, 2003 Hollis, Martin – The Philosophy of Social Science , Cambridge University Press, (revised) 2003 Faculty Web Page and MYSJSU Messaging Copies of the course materials such as the syllabus, major assignment handouts, etc. may be found on my faculty web page accessible through the Quick Links>Faculty Web Page links on the SJSU home page. You are responsible for regularly checking with the messaging system through MySJSU. You can also link directly to my webpage at: http://
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PhilofScisylSum10 - San Jos State University Department of...

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