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Fall 2003

Prof. D. deB. Beaver
           Bronfman 117; ext. 2239
Office Hours: call or drop in

The purpose of this course is to examine and assess the nature of science and technology, and their interactions with each other and with society, focussing especially on their influence on what humans value. As an introduction to science and technology studies (STS), it provides acquaintance with the major positions and schools in STS. The course employs a variety of perspectives and approaches, including the historical, philosophical, sociological, and quantitative. Consequently it is concerned with obtaining a broad overview of the diversity of thought about science and technology rather than a deep analysis of any one school or interpretation. The attempt to acquire a more sophisticated and comprehensive picture of science and technology is ultimately aimed at enabling a more critical and knowledgeable consideration of how social and individual values mold, and in turn are molded by, scientific and technological developments. To that end, the course concerns itself with questions in ethics, social responsibility, human nature, and public policy.

Class meetings (MWF 10:00 - 10:50 a.m.) primarily consist of discussion of issues and questions raised in the assigned reading.

Requirements: Class participation, 3 exercises, 2 papers (#1: 3-5 pp, #2: 5-7 pp), 2 hour exams, and a short quiq, each respectively worth approximately 20%, 20%, 30%, 28%, and 2% towards the final grade, which will be sensitive to active class participation [attendance, quality & frequency of interaction]

Textbooks: The required texts for the course are:

Bronowski, J. Science and Human Values
Collins/Pinch The Golem: …. Science
Collins/Pinch The Golem at Large: ….Technology
Goodfield, J. An Imagined World
Kuhn, T. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions
Teich, A. Technology and the Future [8th edition]
Volti, R. Society and Technological Change [4th edition]
Winner, L. The Whale and the Reactor

In addition, the following packet of items assigned as reading is available at cost [$9.00] in Bronfman 189 from Ms. Kate Fletcher, Administrative Assistant:

1. H. Bauer So-called "scientific method" (Sep. 10)
2. J. B. Conant There is no scientific method (Sep. 10)
3. Karl Popper Science: conjectures and refutations (Sep. 10)
4. M. Black Is Induction an acceptable scientific tool? (Sep. 10)
5. B. Brody Confirming….:the New Riddle of Induction (Sep. 10)
6. E. McMullin Reactions to the Logical Positivist… (Sep. 10)
7. Troxell/Snyder Causes and David Hume (Sep. 10)
8. C. Hempel A Philosopher…. Scientific Method (Sep. 12)
9. M. Martin Two Models for Explanation in the Sciences (Sep. 12)
10. J. Hospers What is Explanation? (Sep. 12)
11. R. Root-Bernstein Setting the Stage for Discovery (Sep. 12)
12. A. Sayre The Making of a Discovery (Sep. 15)
13. Gross/Levitt Higher Superstition: Academic Left ff (Sep. 24)
14. Et al Excerpts on Ethics (Oct. 1)
15. R. S. Morison Visions (Oct. 31)
16. Franke/Chasin The Kerala Experiment (Nov. 10)
17. K. Coyle ACCESS: Not Just Wires (Nov. 14)
18. N. Postman Informing Ourselves to Death (Nov. 14)
19. Et al Computer Ethics, Privacy, Scenarios (Nov. 17)
20. L White, Jr. Historical Roots of our Ecological Crisis (Nov. 19)
21. Gross/Levitt Environmentalism (Nov. 21)
22. J. Tierney Recycling is Garbage (Nov. 21)