Syllabi available upon request.
LPS/PHILOS 91 Philosophy of Sex (Or, Philosophy of the Sciences of Sex & Gender)
A modified version of Cailin O’Connor’s yearly course, the goal of this course is to explore the role of social values in the production of scientific knowledge, especially biology. Students learn about the sciences of sexual selection, sex differences in humans, and human behavior and sexuality, and investigate the influence of cultural values of sex and gender on those sciences. Students are introduced to philosophy of science concepts such as underdetermination and theory-ladenness of observation. Throughout the course, we also strive to better understand cultural beliefs about gender and race. The course is structured in three parts: first, we explore the idea of gender, sex, and race as concepts existing in complex interaction between the biological and social. Next, we read Kathleen Okruhlik’s “Gender and the Biological Sciences” to introduce systematic ways that values relating to those concepts are part of the structure of science. We then explore various examples from the biological sciences, and tie these examples back to the course’s earlier themes via a discussion of Helen Longino’s work on objectivity from Science as Social Knowledge. Assignments for the course are include journals focused on paraphrase and reflection, and a scaffolded argumentative essay developed throughout the term.
LPS/HIST 60 Making Modern Science
The goal of this History and Philosophy of Science course is to explore several ways that science can change over time. Course content focuses on three types of change that interact with science: institutional change, technological change, and social change. We explore a case study for each: the development of the modern institution of science, 20th century genetics, and climate science, respectively. Throughout, we consider how the influence of these broader factors shapes the character of science itself. Assignments for the course are structured around a semester-long course project where students work in groups to investigate one of the following relationships: science and policy, science and activism, science and popular media/communication, and science and industry. Students choose a case study within that area and construct a project of their chosen format to present to their peers, incorporating an interactive element. The project is scaffolded with weekly check-in assignments and ends with a self- and peer- reflection following group presentations. Other course assignments include short quizzes and knowledge checks, and independent digital lesson assignments. This course is designed for a five-week summer session for UCI Freshman Edge and Summer Bridge students.