Week 1

Mon. 1/16

Wed. 1/18

Fri. 1/20

Course Introduction: Logical Positivism and the Philosophy of Science.
The role of Science in Human life.

Science and Mathematics. Thales, Pythagoras, and the discovery of form. "All is number." Diggins Chapters 8-9, 11-12

The Golden Mean. Diggins Ch. 15

 

Week 2

Mon. 1/23

Wed. 1/25

Fri. 1/27

The construction of the world out of numbers. Plato's Timaeus.
    Diggins Ch. 13.

The discovery of the Irrationals. Continuity in Ancient Mathematics, Diggins Ch. 14. Ch 16. or Dantzig, “The Unuterrable.”

Infinity in Ancient and Modern Science. "Aristotle on Zeno's paradoxes" or Dantzig, “This Flowing World,” pp. 125-134.

 

Week 3

Mon. 1/30

Wed. 2/1

Fri. 2/3

The paradoxes of Infinity. Cantor's redefinition of Infinity and the concept of number

Dantzig, “The Anatomy of the Infinite,”

Cantor's redefinition of Infinity and the concept of number.

The infinitesimal Calculus.
Dantzig, “This Flowing World,” pp. 134-143.

Ancient Astronomy and the Phenomena to be dealt with. Eratosthenes measures the Globe, Diggins, Ch 17

Ptolemaic Astronomy. History of Physics Lectures, Sections 3, 4, 5, 8 required, especially 3*.

 

Week 4

Mon. 2/6

Wed. 2/8

Fri. 2/10

Ptolemaic Astronomy.
Ptolemaic Astronomy. History of Physics Lectures, Sections 3, 4, 5, 8 required, especially 3*.

Assignment 1 Due

Copernican Astronomy. Copernicus's Commentariolus.

 

Galileo and the Scientific Revolution. Galileo "Two Kinds of Properties",
"The View of Nature of the Scientific Revolution
".

 

 

 

 

 

 

Week 5

Mon. 2/13

Wed. 2/15

Fri. 2/17

The Principle of Relativity.

Galileo’s Principle of Relativity

Newton's laws of Motion. Absolute Space and Time. Selections from Newton’s "Scholium on Absolute Space" .

PART TWO OF COURSE
Introduction to Logical Positivism. "Logical Empiricism", "A short summary of Logical Positivism. Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Ch. 1

 

 

Week 6

Mon. 2/20

Wed. 2/22

Fri. 2/24

Paradigms and Normal Science

Kuhn

Postscript pp. 174-197.
Ch. 4-5

Scientific Discovery. Kuhn Ch.7 and 9.

 

EXAM 1 DUE.
Theories and World Views. Kuhn, Ch. 10,12,13

 

Feb 27-March 2  MID-SEMESTER BREAK

 

Week 7

Mon. 3/5

Wed. 3/7

Fri. 3/9

Contemporary Realims:

Putnam’s Twin Earth and Brains in a Vat.

 

The Science Wars.

Daniel Dennett, “Faith in Truth” Thomas Nagel,  “The Sleep of Reason”

Objectivity in Science: Pluto, Dinosaurs, and Global Warming.

Richard Muller “Climate Change”

 

 

Week 8

Mon. 3/12

Wed. 3/14

Fri. 3/16

Special Relativity, Albert Einstein “Relativity”

Part I, Sections 1-10.

Special Relativity. Space-Time diagrams “Relativity Tutorial”

 

Cosmology and alternate universes:

Brian Greene, Hidden Reality, Ch. 1, Ch. 2

General Relativity

Cosmology and alternate universes:

Brian Greene, Hidden Reality, Ch. 1, Ch. 2

 

Assignment 2 Due

 

 

 

 

 

 

Week 9

Mon. 3/19

Wed. 3/21

Fri. 3/23

General Relativity

The Inflationary Universe:

Brian Greene, Hidden Reality, Ch. 3

Quantum Mechanics.
"Quantum Behavior", John Horgan "Scroedinger's Cation".

 

Realism and Quantum Mechanics. Bell’s Theorem. David Harrison "Bells Theorem"
 Brian Greene, Hidden Reality, Ch. 8

 

Week 10

Mon. 3/26

Wed. 3/28

Fri. 3/30

String Theory

 

Brian Greene, Hidden Reality, Ch. 4, Ch. 5

Darwin’s Theory of Evolution.

Dennett,  Darwin’s Dangerous Idea,
Ch 1-2

Darwin’s Theory of Evolution.

Explaining the very Improbable

Accumulating Small Change

 

Week 11

Mon. 4/2

Wed. 4/4

Fri. 4/6

Evolution as Algorithm.

Dennett Ch 3 and Ch 5.

(Skip 4)

The  Origin of the Universe

Dennett Ch. 7

EASTER BREAK

NO CLASS

 

Week 12

Mon. 4/9

Wed. 4/11

Fri. 4/13

EASTER BREAK

NO CLASS

Assignment 3 Due.
The Anthropic Principle.

William Lane Craig
“The Teleological Argument And The Anthropic Principle

Science and Cosmology

Brian Greene, Hidden Reality, Ch. 7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Week 13

Mon. 4/16

Wed. 4/18

Fri. 4/20

Functionalism and consciousness. The Chinese Room: Searle: “Minds, Brains, and Programs” or “The Chinese Room Homepage”

Information and the Holographic Universe

Brian Greene, Hidden Reality, Ch. 9

Assignment 4 Due

Gödel’s Theorem and the Mind.

Dennett Ch. 15

Brian Greene, Hidden Reality, Ch. 10

 

Week 14

Mon. 4/23

Wed. 4/25

Fri. 4/27

The Game of Life and The Nature of Science.
Brian Greene, Hidden Reality, Ch. 11

Science, Time, and Human Consciousness. Hoeg, Borderliners, pp. 1-138.

Technology, Alienation, and Civilization. Hoeg, pp. 138-208.

 

Week 15

Mon. 5/2

Wed. 5/4

Fri. 5/6

Technology, Alienation, and Civilization. Hoeg, pp. 208-end.

 

 

READING DAY