1. What is science? Explain in terms of its object and method of inquiry. In what way is it rational and empirical? In what way is the scientific method a constant interplay between hypotheses and the logical expectations they give rise to? How do laws and theories explain (or give account of) nature? Contrast. In what way do they constitute scientific knowledge?
2. How does the history of astronomy show that science is compounded of fact and logic? Contrast Medieval (scholastic) natural philosophy from the scientific method of Galileo. What was the nature of Newton's insight? In what sense is Newton's method a synthesis of Descartes' method of logic and Bacon's method of experiment, in that "the empirical and logical methods in science [takes] alternate steps forward, [where] a step in one makes ready for a step in the other?"
3. What is metaphysically presumed in the practice of science? How is this related to our personal experience of beauty and order in nature? Is beauty a necessary criterion of scientific theories? Why do scientists, like Paul Dirac, for example, aspire for "elegance" in their theories? How can "elegance" be a good indication that the scientist is in the sure line of progress?
4. How does the very nature of scientific inquiry demand an ethical rigor in its practice? What's the basic moral code every science researcher must abide by? How is the integrity of scientific findings protected by laboratory protocols and social mechanisms of validation? Explain using recent cases from astrobiology and particle physics.
5. In what way does Feyerabend's and Kuhn's historicist account of science reveal that its development is discontinuous? How is this discontinuity related to the incommensurability of world views? How does this contrast with Popper's evolutionary development of science through the method of refutation? In what way does Feyerabend's "anarchist" stance subvert the heroic account of science? Is it still possible to believe that there is progress in science, and not just change?
6. What is the relationship between modernization, industrialization, and development? Why is this relationship problematic? What is industrial "convergence" and how is it related to "technological determinism"? How is convergence incompatible with a historicist account of development? In what way is development a contradictory process? What are the costs/benefits, challenges/opportunities for late industrializers like the Philippines?
7. How has the "condition of knowledge" been altered by the linguistic turn in the leading sciences and technologies? By its computerization, miniaturization, and commercialization in the post-industrialized West? In what way has science become the "game of the rich" in that whoever is wealthiest has the best chance of being "right"? In what way does science nevertheless appeals to narrative knowledges that, by its own denotative criterion, it deems as illegitimate? How do these impact the functional turn in education? Do you think it has become more of a game of efficiency than of truth?
8. Elaborate on McLuhan's mantra: "the medium is the message". How did the clock and the printing press of the Middle Ages lead to the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century? Explain in terms of their psychic and social effects. Explain how technology as extensions of our senses/bodies also change us. Give some examples from the digital/Internet age.
Submit a three-page (maximum) critical essay on at least two topics given above.
The format of the paper is as follows: 8.5 × 11 inch size, Georgia 10 font, 1.5 space, 1 inch margins on all sides; this should amount to more or less 1750 words. Please do not put a cover page nor submit in a folder; just staple the pages together. You may use the backside of used papers as long as the print on the other side is not visible. References (if there are any) must be within in the 3-page maximum format.
Premium is placed on mastery of the material, development and synthesis of ideas, articulation and insight. Please refer to the Policies page for grading guidelines.
Maaari ninyong isulat ang inyong mga sanaysay sa Filipino kung mas bihasa kayo sa ating sariling wika. Pantay ang magiging batayan sa pagmamarka ng inyong mga sanaysay, maging sa Filipino man ito o Ingles.
You will be marked according to understanding of the material discussed in class, and supported by the assigned readings. Whereas the lectures provide a broad framework of ideas, it is your turn provide concrete examples in your paper. Examples must be explained in detail and explicitly related to your main points/assertions. This should demonstrate your mastery of the concepts, as well as personalize your essay.
A lot of materials are provided for further reading on the topics covered. You need not cover all the materials, but do read in depth on the topics that you choose to write about. You may use print or online sources (make sure to vet the latter's "legitimacy") as needed and cite them accordingly.
Congratulations to the following students who submitted the best essays for this assignment!