Lynn Hankinson Nelson
Study of several current topics in philosophy of biology, which may include the logical structure of evolutionary theory, fitness, taxonomy, the concept of a living thing, reductionism, the concept of a biological species, evolutionary explanations, and philosophical consequences of sociology. Prerequisite: one PHIL course; recommended: college-level course in biological science.
This course will consider conceptual issues involving evolutionary biology. (The official description above should not mention 'sociology' but 'sociobiology' or 'evolutionary psychology'. Philosophy of biology is one of the more dynamic fields in philosophy of science, and biologists as well as philosophers regularly engage with it. TEXTS: "Conceptual Issues in Evolutionary Biology", E. Sober, ed.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
I use a combination of brief lectures at the beginning and end of class meetings, and discussion for the remainder.
It is strongly recommended that students have had a prior philosophy course (logic included) and less importantly, one college level course in biology.
Class assignments and grading
Short formal papers (3) and written reviews as assigned, a group project, and attendance and participation.
Writing assignments (formal papers and short reviews) will count (roughly) for 60% of the grade. Participation in class discussions and a group project for roughly 40% of the grade.