Throughout the course and in our final papers

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Throughout the course and in our final papers Powered By Docstoc

                   PHIL 4550 Philosophy of Science and Technology
                                     Fall 2010

Adam Briggle                                     Class Location: ENV 190
Office: ENV 225G                                 Class meeting time: TR 12:30-1:50
Phone: 940-565-2266                              OH: TR 9:30-11:00 or by appointment

Course Description

This course casts a critical eye on the defining phenomena of our age: modern science
and technology. We will explore the meaning of science and technology and their
relationship to society, politics, and culture. The first two parts of the course turn the
kaleidoscope to look at science and technology from different perspectives. After the
mid-term exam, the last part of the course asks the question: What is the relationship
between science and values? Throughout the course and in our final papers, we will
reference contemporary events in health, environment, security, education, media, and

Course Objectives

   1. A broader and deeper understanding of the many ways of conceptualizing and
      evaluating science and technology.
   2. The ability to use this understanding to think critically and creatively about
      science and technology and their relation to your life and society.
   3. A keen ability to analyze and evaluate claims made by scientists and engineers as
      well as claims made about science and technology in the media, in political
      debate, and in the marketplace.

Evaluation (see Assignments section below for more detail)
25% Participation and pop quizzes
25% Mid-term exam
25% Final exam
25% Final paper

Writing Center
Student Code of Conduct

--- (Required) Readings in the Philosophy of Technology, 2nd. ed. (2009), edited by
David Kaplan, Rowman and Littlefield.

--- *Additional reading materials (marked with an asterisk below) can be found on the
course blackboard site.

R Aug. 26: Modern Times (Charlie Chaplin, 1936); and questions and Sarewitz assigned
for homework
T Aug. 31: Course overview and Manufactured Landscapes (Baichwal, 2006)

Part I: Snapshots of Modern Science

R Sep. 2: Daring
    * selections from Francis Bacon, Renee Descartes, and Immanuel Kant
T Sep. 7: The Death of Metaphysics
    *A.J. Ayer, selections from Language, Truth, and Logic (1936)
R Sep. 9: Falsificationism and Holism
    *Karl Popper, “Falsificationism” (1957) and W.V. Quine from “Two Dogmas of
       Empiricism” (1953) and “Posits and Reality” (1966)
T Sep. 14: Paradigms
    *Thomas Kuhn, selections from The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1963)
T Sep. 21: Anarchy
    *Paul Feyerabend, “An Argument against Method” (1978)
R Sep. 16: Constructivism
    *David Bloor, “The Strong Programme in the Sociology of Science” (1976)
R Sep. 23: Feminism
    *Sandra Harding, “Feminist Science Criticism” (1986)
T Sep. 28: Mediation
    Bruno Latour, “Laboratories,” in Kaplan pp. 534-551 (1987)
R Sep. 30: The View from Nowhere
    *Donna Haraway, “Modest Witness” (1997)

Part II: Snapshots of Modern Technology

T Oct. 5: New Power, New Responsibility
    Hans Jonas, “Technology and Responsibility,” in Kaplan pp. 173-184 (1974)
R Oct. 7: Enframing
    Martin Heidegger, “The Question Concerning Technology,” in Kaplan pp. 9-24
T Oct. 12: A Comfortable Unfreedom
    Herbert Marcuse, “The New Forms of Control,” in Kaplan pp. 34-42 (1964)
R Oct. 14: Determinism
    Langdon Winner, “Do Artifacts have Politics?” in Kaplan pp. 251-263 (1986)
T Oct. 19: Indeterminism
    Andrew Feenberg, “Democratic Rationalization,” in Kaplan pp. 139-155 (1992)
R Oct. 21: Evil Institutions
    *Ivan Illich, selections from Deschooling Society (1970)
T Oct. 26: Networks

      Bruno Latour, “A Collective of Humans and Nonhumans,” in Kaplan pp. 156-167
R Oct. 28: Devices and Things
    Albert Borgmann, “Focal Things and Practices,” in Kaplan pp. 56-75(1984)
T Nov. 2: Sex with Robots and Other Posthuman Fantasies
    Ray Kurzweil, “Twenty-first Century Bodies,” in Kaplan pp. 361-374 (1999)

Review and Mid-term Exam
R Nov. 4: Review
T Nov. 9: Exam is due
Final paper topic approval must happen by Nov. 10

Part III: Science and Ethics

R Nov. 11: Emotivism
    *A.J. Ayer, “Critique of Ethics and Theology” (1936)
T Nov. 16: Cornucopia
    *Vannevar Bush, selections from Science—the Endless Frontier (1945)
R Nov. 18: Norms Intrinsic to Science
    *Robert K. Merton, “The Normative Structure of Science” (1942)
T Nov. 23: Bad Apples or Bad System?
    *William Broad and Nicholas Wade, “Fraud and the Structure of Science” (1983)

R Nov. 25: No Class, Thanksgiving Break!

T Nov. 30: Is You Is Or Is You Ain’t Ma Baby?
    *Jacob Bronowski, selections from Science and Human Values (1956)
R Dec. 2: Theory of the Real
    *Martin Heidegger, “Science and Reflection” (1954)
T Dec. 7: Facts and Values
    *Leo Strauss, “Natural Right and the Distinction Between Facts and Values”
R Dec. 9: Artificial Wine
    *Albert Borgmann, “The Problem of Technology” (1984)

Evaluation of your performance will be based on four assignments.

1. Participation and pop quizzes (1/4)
     The class will feature both small and large group opportunities for letting your
       voice be heard. Your participation should adhere to basic principles of civility,
       respect, and open-mindedness.
     I will administer quizzes to ensure attendance stays high and to assess our
       comprehension of the material. They will be short and, if you do the reading, they
       will be relatively painless.

      Missing more than three classes during the semester will adversely impact your
       grade. Thoughtful comments that critically engage the reading material, your
       peers, or the lectures will positively influence your grade. My classroom upholds
       the ideals of civil exchange, open-mindedness, respect, and courage. You are
       encouraged to think radical thoughts and play the devil’s advocate as long as you
       can do so respectfully.

2. Mid-term exam (1/4)
     1,500 word (+/- 100) essay covering material from parts I and II, written at home
       and turned in for class on Tuesday Nov. 9th The essay will be a response paper
       written to one of four questions crafted by Adam. The goal is to assess your
       comprehension of the material by your ability to analyze and synthesize it.

3. Final exam (1/4)
     Cumulative short answer and essay. Scheduled for Tuesday Dec. 14th 10:30 a.m.
       to 12:30 p.m.

4. Final paper (1/4)
     3,000 words (+/- 150), excluding bibliography.
     Can be authored alone or in pairs. If team-authored, you can choose either to
       accept the same grade or indicate which sections were written by which student.
     Briefly describe an issue of contemporary social relevance and analyze and assess
       it using some of the concepts and norms learned in class. Cite at least one thinker
       discussed in class.
     Due by 11:59 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 12th

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