How Science Works
Fall 2023

What is science? How does it work? Is there a scientific method? We will use a mix of logical argument, history, and sociology to investigate these questions. We will read the philosophers of science Karl Popper and Thomas Kuhn, as well as the early modern thinker Francis Bacon, and we will look at the history of scientific inquiry into the structure of the solar system, gravitation, the nature of heat, the question of the age of the earth, evolutionary theory, continental drift, and some modern physics including quantum theory. We’ll travel into the lab with sociologists of science such as Harry Collins and Bruno Latour, as well as taking a more high-level look at the social organization of science and at the problems involved in “following the science” when formulating public policy to deal with climate change and covid-19.

Class meets Mondays and Wednesdays at 11 AM, 238 Thompson St (GCASL), Room 288


Readings will be found on the class's NYU Brightspace site