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Organization, Regulations, and Courses 2021-22

PHIL 1.09 Science, Superstition, and Skepticism

Most of us believe that matter is made up of atoms, that smoking causes emphysema, and that the universe is billions of years old. Few believe that Virgos are hot-tempered, that you can see the future through a crystal ball, or that baking soda cures AIDS. We often hear that the difference between such beliefs is that one sort is based on science and the other isn’t. But what makes a method of inquiring into the world distinctively scientific? And what makes us justified in believing on the basis of these methods? This course is an introduction to the philosophical theory of knowledge that focuses on the knowledge that science is purported to offer. Possible topics include competing theories of justification, scientific induction, the nature of explanation, probability, scientific ‘revolutions’, the goals of science, trust in scientific authority, and skepticism.



Distributive and/or World Culture


The Timetable of Class Meetings contains the most up-to-date information about a course. It includes not only the meeting time and instructor, but also its official distributive and/or world culture designation. This information supersedes any information you may see elsewhere, to include what may appear in this ORC/Catalog or on a department/program website. Note that course attributes may change term to term therefore those in effect are those (only) during the term in which you enroll in the course.