Seminar in Philosophy of Science (PHIL681)
Topic: Naturalism, Realism, Objectivity
Prof. Wayne Wright
Mondays & Wednesdays · 11:00am–12:15pm · LA5–246
The general theme will be naturalism, realism, and objectivity. Some of the focus will be within the philosophy of science (viz., recent work inspired by pragmatism), but we will also spend a good bit of time dealing with material from the philosophy of mind and philosophy of perception that directly engages with foundational issues for the relevant sciences. The assigned readings will almost certainly be drawn from the following:
- Wilfrid Sellars, ‘Philosophy and the scientific image of man’
- Dan Dennett, ‘Real patterns’
- Hasok Chang, chapters from Realism for Realistic People
- Ron Giere, chapters from Scientific Perspectivism
- Paul Teller, ‘What is perspectivism and does it count as realism?’
- Mark Wilson, chapters from Wandering Significance
- Stephen Stich, chapters from Deconstructing the Mind
- Kyle Stanford, ‘The eyes don’t have it’
- Gary Hatfield, ‘Color as a psychobiological property’
Other authors may include Mazviita Chirimuuta, Penelope Maddy, Huw Price, Richard Rorty, Miriam Solomon, and Bas van Fraassen. All assigned and optional readings will be available at the course’s Canvas page.
The Monday class meetings will be focused on working through key sections of the text in fairly careful detail. This might involve a bit of lecturing, but much of it will consist in the group reading through passages and stopping for discussion as students offer comments, criticisms, questions, etc. The goal is for students to come to a strong understanding of some of the most important moves in the readings, so that they can productively engage with the entire readings independently. Wednesday class meetings will be used for student presentations and discussion based on the presentation. The discussions during these meetings will very likely start off centered around the points emphasized in the presentation, but they may very well spin off from there to other issues raised in the reading.