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Master Syllabus

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Administrative Unit: History and Political Science Department
Course Prefix and Number: HIST 303
Course Title: *History and Philosophy of Modern Science
Number of:
Credit Hours 3
Lecture Hours 3
Lab Hours 0
Catalog Description: Evolution of scientific thought from 1600 A.D. to the present. Cross-listed as PHIL 303. Prerequisite: HIST 102.
Prerequisite(s) / Corequisite(s): HIST 102.
Course Rotation for Day Program: Occasional offering.
Text(s): Most current editions of the following:

A History of Western Science
By Alioto, Anthony M. (Prentice-Hall)
The Construction of Modern Science
By Westfall, Richard (Cambridge University Press)
Charles Darwin and the Problem of Creation
By Gillespie, Neil (University of Chicago Press)
The Evolution of Physics
By Einstein, Albert and Leopold Infeld (Simon and Schuster)
Relativity and Its Roots
By Hoffman, Banesh (Scientific American Books)
Course Objectives
  • To inquire philosophically into the construction of modern science, the Scientific Revolution from Copernicus to Newton.
  • To examine the critical debate over the nature of “scientific revolutions,” paying close attention to the actual construction of modern science.
  • To critically examine the so-called scientific method in the context of the actual actions of the creators of modern science.
  • To study the basic scientific theories from Newton to Hawking.
    Measurable Learning Outcomes:
  • Demonstrate a basic knowledge of the changes in scientific thinking from Aristotle to Newton.
  • Analyze the historical context in which scientific ideas are created, and how that context actually helps to shape the internal history of science.
  • Critically evaluate abstract philosophical descriptions of the scientific method and how these obtain or do not obtain in actual scientific work.
    Topical Outline:
  • The Aristotelian Universe
  • The Hermetic challenge
  • Copernicus and Kepler
  • Galileo
  • Rationalism
  • Newton
  • The Newtonian World
  • The Enlightenment
  • Geology
  • Darwin
  • Classical physics and chemistry
  • Einstein and the Theory of special and general relativity
  • Quantum mechanics
  • Cosmology
  • Biology and psychology

    Recommended maximum class size for this course: 35

    Library Resources:

    Online databases are available at the Columbia College Stafford Library.  You may access them using your CougarTrack login and password when prompted.

    Prepared by: Anthony Alioto Date: May 11, 2005
    NOTE: The intention of this master course syllabus is to provide an outline of the contents of this course, as specified by the faculty of Columbia College, regardless of who teaches the course, when it is taught, or where it is taught. Faculty members teaching this course for Columbia College are expected to facilitate learning pursuant to the course objectives and cover the subjects listed in the topical outline. However, instructors are also encouraged to cover additional topics of interest so long as those topics are relevant to the course's subject. The master syllabus is, therefore, prescriptive in nature but also allows for a diversity of individual approaches to course material.

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