History/Philosophy of Science
GENERAL EDUCATION: This course fulfills a General Education - Letters requirement.

DESCRIPTION: Discusses the philosophical assumptions of modern science, criteria for theory selection and traces their historical development. Describes the historical development of basic ideas in science.
TAUGHT: Fall, Summer
CONTENT AND TOPICS: This General Education course introduces students to the history and philosophy of modern science, tracing its historical development from the ancient Greeks to modern times. Students will understand the strengths, limitations, and underlying axioms and philosophies of modern science as a tool for gaining knowledge of the physical world. The history of science is discussed to show how the philosophy of science changed and helps students place the theories of modern science into historical perspective.
GOALS AND OBJECTIVES: 1.Know terminology used by scientists and philosophers of science in discussing the scientific process and describe how the methods of science have changed over the years.
2.Identify the major figures in the History of Science and how each contributed to the modern science.
3.Describe the methodology of modern science, the relationship between observation and theory, and the underlying axioms upon which science is built.
4.Examine how science is used to broaden human knowledge and describe its strengths and limitations.
5.Examine how science, its methods, axioms, and philosophy have changed over the years.
6.Trace science’s historical development with an emphasis on how the contributions of its practitioners have fundamentally altered both the way humans view the world and the philosophy of science itself.
7.Integrate several disciplines: science (both physical and biological), philosophy, religion, and history.
8.Describe fundamental differences in methodology between disciplines, emphasizing the strengths and limitations of each.
9.Express their knowledge and ideas through written language.
10.Be confronted with historical dilemmas and examine how individuals used philosophical and scientific methods to solve them. Students are confronted with science and religion conflicts as they developed historically and place current science and religion conflicts into their historical context.
11.Communicate and work together effectively with a wide range of intellectual backgrounds.
12.Analyze both the scientific and philosophical consequences of scientific theories. They judge how seriously these consequences affect their lives.
13.Plan and design a number of oral and written communication instruments.
14.Develop the ability to evaluate and question scientific ideas.
15.Determine the relationships between the physical and biological sciences, philosophy, history and religion.
16.Discover the strengths and limitations of the scientific process and apply them to their own disciplines.

REQUIREMENTS: Exams 50% of grade. The course has three exams with a comprehensive final. Exams are about half objective and half essay. Students write five short papers on topical themes. Students write a historical research paper about an incident from the history of modern science. Group will present a biography of a major figure in the history of science.
PREREQUISITES: Completion of Physical Science GE class and its associated lab.
Math Level: Some use of high school algebra I