1. Introduction

Summary:

In this meeting, students will receive an introduction to the course.  We will move on to a discussion of epistemology by examining popular and academic conceptions of gravity — both in the contemporary era and in the 15th century.  We will conclude the meeting with a short lecture summarizing a few basic concepts from Science and Technology in Society Studies, which will be central to the course.

By the end of this meeting, students will be able to

  1. Give a broad outline of historical debates over the meaning of science.
  2. Define History of Science as a subdsicipline and explain its relationship to Philosophy of Science and Science, Technology, and Society Studies.

Readings and Videos:

The readings and videos for week 1 are optional.  However, they are important in that they will help prepare you for the information in this course.  Please take the time to work through them since they are not very long.

Study Questions:

    1. What is the history of science?
    2. How does the history of science align with and diverge from other sub disciplines within history?
    3. What does Plato’s allegory of the cave suggest about the nature of truth and knowledge?

Assignments:

While there are no prerequisites for this course, it will be useful for you to have knowledge of history since 1750 — esp. the history of Europe and North America.  There are several ways to do this.  First, this course is roughly chronological, so you could get a western civilization textbook and use it as a reference tool.  There are a number of good choices, and I can help you choose one.  Secondly, there are a number of Western Civilization courses on iTunes, to which you could listen during your day-to-day activities.  There is a good course offered by Professor Thomas Lacquer at Berkeley here.

This would be a good week to get started reading any supplementary materials that you think might be helpful or asking me what books, articles, films, etc. you should consult.

Keywords:

epistemology; Philosophy of Science; History of Science: Science, Technology, and Society Studies; empiricism; induction; deduction; internalism/externalism

Notes:

Please be sure to read over the supplementary materials for this course.  In particular, read the syllabus closely so that you are well aware of course policies.  Likewise, be sure to review my writing guides for this course.

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