Professor: William Bechtel Spring 2003
Office: HSS 8076 Tu, 5:00-6:50 pm
Telephone: 822-4461  
Office Hours: Tu 3:00-4:00 and by appointment  
Email: (personal) (course)

Phil 87
Science: An Unnatural Endeavor

1. Course Description

In The Unnatural Nature of Science Lewis Wolpert makes a number of surprising and controversial claims about the nature of science. This seminar will engage in a careful reading of this text and examination of the issues raised by it. This will involve both elucidating the arguments Wolpert advances and trying to challenge them.

2. Course Requirements

This class is graded Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory. To receive an S for this course you must attend the seminars (if you must miss a seminar for a good reason, contact the instructor immediately) and submit discussion questions for sessions 2-5. These discussion questions are to be submitted by email (as plain text, not as attachments) to by Noon on the day of the seminar. These discussion questions are to be based on the readings for that seminar and should focus on something that you find puzzling or controversial in the reading. Frame the question in a short paragraph that positions the issue in the context of the material in the reading. These will provide the basis for the seminar discussions.

3. Text

Wolpert, L. (1992). The unnatural nature of science. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

4. Schedule of Classes and Readings

April 15: Introductory Seminar
April 22: The unnaturalness of science and the naturalness of technology. Chapters 1-2
April 29: Scientific thinking. Chapters 3-5
May 6: Relativism and the bounds of science. Chapters 6-7
May 13: Values and Science. Chapters 8-9