We offer an array of specialized courses in history and philosophy of science as well as general courses in philosophy of science; history of science, technology, and medicine; and history of philosophy of science (HOPOS).
Philosophy of Science (HPS 83801) is typically taught every fall semester. The two course sequence History of Science, Technology and Medicine to 1750 (HPS 83601) and History of Science, Technology and Medicine since 1750 (HPS 83602) is typically taught every other year, alternating with the two course sequence History of Philosophy of Science to 1750 (HPS 98311) and History of Philosophy of Science since 1750.
Fall 2018 HPS Course Offerings
HPS 63026: Emotions in Medieval Culture
M/W 3:30 - 4:45
Are emotions universal spontaneous physical responses to stimulate? Or do cultural norms condition the kinds of emotions it is possible for us to experience? Is emotional expression a form of communication with others? Or does emotional performance shape what we ourselves feel? What role do emotions play in civic society and politics? What is the relationship between the emotions described in a text and those aroused in the reader? And it is possible to understand the emotions of the past? This course will survey a range of theoretical and methodological approaches to the study of emotion and affect and test them on the medieval Latin West, focusing on vernacular literatures with forays into history, music, and art. All readings and class discussion will be in (modern) English.
HPS 63201: Nasty, Brutish, and Short
T/TH 2:00 - 3:15
Organized violence between human communities is one of the unfortunate realities of human existence, and its causes and consequences have consequently been of great interest. Is war an inevitable outcome of human nature, or the result of specific social, historical, and environmental circumstances? Archaeology is uniquely positioned to provide concrete insights into the history of human violence through study of its direct material correlates?traumatic injuries on skeletons, fortified settlements, weaponry, and iconography. However, the archaeological record also documents the impacts of violence?reduced nutritional status and health, evidence for enslavement, cannibalism, and population decline?and can provide insights into why war occurred through examination of environment, population, and social conditions. In this course, we will explore what the archaeological record tells us about violence, human nature, and the veracity of claims for either a more violent or more peaceful past. We will examine theoretical models of war, anthropological studies of conflict, and archaeological case studies of both violent and peaceful times to understand the role that organized violence has played in human history and evolution.
HPS 73202: Genealogies of Islamic Thought
M 12:30 -3:15
The course examines key writings in the history of Islamic thought. Using a variety of theoretical approaches ranging from writings by Ibn Khaldun, Marshall Hodgson to Michel Foucault, this advanced course examines the conditions under which multiplicities of Islamic knowledge, discourses and domains of power had been formulated over time. The course will utilize Hodgson's The Venture of Islam and Ibn Khaldun's, Muqaddima as the two main texts. Several other readings authored by scholars ranging from Iqbal, Fazlur Rahman, Jabri, Laroui in addition to theorists like Collingwood, Koselleck and Asad will be studied. The goal of the course is to engage in a textured and fine grain reading of how Muslim domains of knowledge and ideas were formulated over time.
HPS 83000: The Historians' Craft
Katie Jarvis & Patrick Griffin
TH 1:15 - 3:45
This seminar is designed to introduce students to theoretical and practical foundations of Historical Method. Students are required to complete several written and oral assignments and to write a short primary research paper on a topic selected in consultation with the instructor. Those students who prefer to write a more substantial primary research paper with their PhD advisors should consult with the instructor as soon as possible. This course is required for all first year students.
HPS 83100: Colloquium
T 4:15 - 5:30
Discussion of a prominent recent work in the field of HPS, and research presentations by visiting scholars. Required course for HPS students in the first and second years of the program. (Every semester)
HPS 83801: Philosophy of Science
This course is an introduction to the major historical figures and movements and the major debates in the philosophy of science from the beginning of the twentieth century to the present. We start with the rise of Vienna Circle logical empiricism and post-WWII neo-positivism. The course concludes with a survey such topics as the realism-antirealism debate, confirmation, explanation, laws, theory change, feminist science theory, and science and values. Students will be required to do in-class, mid-term and final essay examinations and a minimum fifteen-page term paper.
HPS 93265: Empires, Law, Iberian Atlantic
W 2:00 - 4:30
This is a graduate seminar that introduces the history of the Iberian Atlantic, largely using the frameworks of empire and legal history to guide our readings. Embedded within the seminar is an introduction to the historiography of colonial Latin America, with an emphasis on the ways that imperial formations conditioned the Latin American experience. Students with interests in colonialisms, Latin American history, the Atlantic world, and Atlantic slavery can modify projects and some content towards their own studies, in consultation with the instructor.
HPS 93541: Infinity
TH 3:30 - 6:15
This course will be a blend of looking at some debates about infinity in the history of philosophy and contemporary relatives of those debates. These include debates about space and time; debates about the divisibility of objects; debates about the foundations of mathematics; and contemporary work on the connections between infinity and modality; infinity and decision theory; and methodological questions about infinite regresses. No previous familiarity with infinity will be assumed.
HPS 93775: How Drugs Created & Create Us
M/W 3:30 - 4:45
In this course we examine the production, distribution, and consumption of knowledge about drugs - legal, regulated, and patented drugs. As we will learn, the case is a highly contentious one, as pharmaceutical companies expend great efforts to shape scientific knowledge about their products, and to control transfer of that knowledge to researchers, physicians, and potential consumers. Economists tend to frame the issues in ways that are very different from those in science studies and the other social sciences. This tension raises many issues worth discussing, for example: the natures of diseases targeted, relationships with the medical profession, the pharmaceuticalization of health, conflicts of interest, integrity in research, and the enrollment of research subjects. We start with a history and overview of science policy and Pharmaceuticals regulation in the US, continue with examinations of research infrastructure in the area, and then move on to a range of implications for the larger society.
HPS 93821 Science and Social Values
M/W 5:05 - 6:20
Science and social values? The established wisdom has it that science offers us the truth about the empirical world—what is rather than what ought to be—and that social values have little to do with it. How else explain the fact that science can be used for both good and ill and that science is granted authority by people of widely different ethical and political persuasions? According to this idea, in short, science is, or at least ought to be, “value-free” or “value-neutral.” In this course we shall explore the major strands of this idea, their origins in Western thought, and the hold they still have on us. Our main focus, however, will be on their current tangles with the history, philosophy, and sociology of science and the knotty questions that have developed as a result, questions concerning the prospects of scientific objectivity and the role of science in a democratic society. This course will be run as a seminar with students sometimes leading class discussions, presenting the results of individual research projects to the group, and further developing those projects using feedback from the group. The aim, of course, will be for students to develop fully informed and defensible responses to the controversial terrain we shall be exploring.