IHPST Graduate Courses Schedule for 2022-2023
HPS1000H: Proseminar: Introduction to History and Philosophy of Science and Technology
Mondays 2- 4
Course Description: The purpose of this course is to introduce students to some of the key conceptual developments in the history and philosophy of science and technology. History of science and philosophy of science tend to operate at a distant remove from each other: they often employ different methodologies to address different kinds of questions. The objective of this course is to carve out common ground in which historians and philosophers may productively engage with one another, and at the same time to survey various issues in the history and philosophy of biology. We will do this in an unorthodox way. We will focus on the ‘problem of the organism’. Organisms, of course, are the subject matter of biology. They are at the same time problematic sorts of natural phenomena. We will the changing approaches to understanding (or ignoring) organisms throughout the history of biology, as a lens through which to discuss issues in the philosophy of science such as explanation, the metaphysics of science, experiment, modelling, laws of nature.
HPS1500H: Research Paper (MA students)
Course Description: HPS1500H Research Paper provides MA students the opportunity to undertake original research in the social and humanistic studies of science, technology, and medicine with the goal of developing the student’s capacity to effectively engage and contribute to existing scholarly literature. IHPST graduate students who wish to take HPS1500H must draw up a detailed course plan with a member of the IHPST graduate faculty who is prepared to provide supervision, and submit a Request for Reading and/or Research form that must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies. NOTE: HPS1500H can be taken in the fall or the winter term.
HPS1500H: Research Paper (MA students)
Course Description: HPS1500H Research Paper provides MA students the opportunity to undertake original research in the social and humanistic studies of science, technology, and medicine with the goal of developing the student’s capacity to effectively engage and contribute to existing scholarly literature. IHPST graduate students who wish to take HPS1500H must draw up a detailed course plan with a member of the IHPST graduate faculty who is prepared to provide supervision, and submit a Request for Reading and/or Research form that must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies. NOTE: HPS1500H can be taken in the fall or the winter term.HPS1500H: Research Paper (MA students)
HPS2010H: The Sciences of Human Nature
Fridays 1 - 3
Course Description: Why do we do what we do? What factors play a role in shaping our personality? What biological and social elements help configure a person’s moral, intellectual, and emotional character? In this course we examine landmark studies that shook standard beliefs about human nature in their time. We analyze those studies in their historical context and discuss their lasting relevance to social, ethical, and policy debates. In addition, this course will help students to understand what is involved in choosing a large research project and to think about the steps needed to turn it into a viable dissertation/book project. Thus, we will devote parts of some meetings to discuss the different aspects of conceptualizing a project, organizing the research, developing a manageable timetable, and writing the different parts of a book (introduction, arch of the chapters, conclusion).
HPS3010H: Social Epistemology
Thursdays 12 - 2
Course Description: Traditionally, epistemology has dealt with the ways in which an individual acquires knowledge through perception and reasoning. However, in recent years it has become apparent that the traditional discussions of knowledge in general, and scientific knowledge in particular, fail to capture important aspects of the social dimension of knowledge. We acquire most of our beliefs from the testimony of others, including experts, and from social institutions that are in charge of the generation of knowledge. The relatively recent branch of philosophy that deals with the social dimensions of knowledge is called social epistemology. It has developed through dialogue with the history of science, sociology of scientific knowledge, anthropology, and philosophy of science. The course will provide an introduction to social epistemology, in general, and social epistemology of science, in particular. It will deal with various aspects of the nature of knowledge from this new perspective, including issues such as the development of scientific knowledge, ‘knowledge that’ (something true) vs. ‘knowledge how’, the influence of social and cultural factors on scientific methodology, scientific rationality and scientific knowledge, scientific realism vs. social constructivism, distributive cognition, holism vs. methodological individualism, trust, expertise, consensus, distributive epistemic injustice, and feminist epistemology.
HPS3004H: Philosophy of Medicine
Thursdays 2 - 4
Course Description: This seminar course provides a graduate level introduction to the philosophy of medicine, a fast-growing philosophical field. We will explore both classic and cutting-edge work. In line with the orientation of the field, we will examine metaphysical/conceptual and epistemic questions in medicine and medical research rather than the kinds of questions traditionally asked in the field of bioethics. Also following the contemporary focus of philosophy of medicine, most of the readings are situated in the philosophy of science. Topics explored will include: varieties of medicine (mainstream, alternative) and their critics; the concepts and nature of health, disease, and illness; disease kinds and classification; the philosophy of psychiatry; biomedical science and medical explanation; the methodology of clinical research and epidemiology; the epistemology of evidence-based medicine; clinical reasoning; and values and the social epistemology of medicine. While most readings follow an ‘analytic’ approach to philosophy of medicine, some follow a more ‘continental’ approach. Classes will consist in a discussion of the course readings with an introduction to the topics provided by the instructor. Links to all required readings will be provided.
HPS4011H: Cognitive Technologies: Philosophical Issues and Debates
Fridays 10 - 12:00
Course Description: Many technological developments have brought with them significant changes in both the modes and scope of human thinking, including how we learn, how we remember, and how we perceive and engage with the world. This seminar will introduce graduate students to philosophical issues and debates that arise from the development of cognitive technologies. We will analyze and discuss key epistemological, metaphysical, and ethical issues that sit at the intersection of philosophy of cognitive science, philosophy of technology, and neuroethics. Topics covered will include situated views of cognition, cognitive artifacts, cognitive enhancement, and artificial intelligence.
HPS4020H: Postcolonial Science and Technology Studies (STS)
Tuesdays 2 - 4
Course Description: This seminar introduces graduate students to the role of postcolonial theory in generating a “global turn” in histories of science and the multidisciplinary field of science & technology studies (STS). Weekly discussions on: knowledge, violence, necropolitics, science & imagination, black reason, braided science, postcolony, western science, global circulation, praxis, crisis, universalisms, race, technonationalism, provincialization, temporality, scales, atomic junctions, expertise, perspectivism, ontology, indigenous feminism, performativity, cosmology, decolonization.
HPS4110H: Medicine, Science, and Mobility in the Mediterranean World
Thursdays 10 - 12
Course Description: The Mediterranean world has historically been characterized as a fluid and permeable space of both human and non-human movement across Africa, Asia, and Europe. This course examines the role of Mediterranean interactions in the histories of science and medicine, focusing on the premodern period. It explores processes of production of medical and scientific knowledge in the premodern Mediterranean world. We will address topics such as the relationship between medicine, science, and religion; slavery and medicine; the management of epidemics and public health; the movement of specimens and curiosities; travel and scientific exchange; bodies and identities; and the making of human diversity. We will also critically reflect on the category of mobility, engaging in questions related to how movement participated in processes of knowledge production in the sciences and medicine and, conversely, how scientific and medical pursuits encouraged mobility.
HPS4021H: Feminist Approaches to Science & Technology Studies
Tuesdays 4 - 6
Course Description: This seminar introduces graduate students to intersections of feminist theory with the multidisciplinary field of science & technology studies (STS). We will analyze and discuss notable critiques of science and technology by feminist and queer studies scholars that have transformed not only the field of STS, but also research practices and concepts within STEM fields. This year’s seminar focuses primarily on Sex & Gender in the History of Science, with key topics including biomedical and technological representations of sex, gender, and sexuality, women in STEM professions, human reproductive technologies; as well as intersectional and transnational approaches to studying gendered labour and knowledge production. Course assignments will enable students to consider how the themes, theoretical approaches, and/or methodologies of feminist STS can inform their own research interests.
HPS4022H: Brave New Worlds: Science + Fiction
Thursdays 12 - 2
Course Description: During the last two centuries science fiction (SF) has become the mythology of modern societies, and the very name of this literary genre points unambiguously to science as their acknowledged linchpin. Every mythology offers a deep insight into the mores and morals, heroes and villains, structures and strictures, dreams and taboos of the society that produced it. This graduate research seminar explores SF as a particular lens for the understanding of both the historical development of modern sciences and the role of science and scientific knowledge in the historical development of modern societies. It is structured thematically around a series of classic SF novels and speculative writings by eminent scientists, but focused on students carrying out independent research projects that examine one of the major themes addressed in the readings, from aliens, androids, and AI to evolution, eugenics, ET, and beyond. The seminar concludes with a workshop where students present their research projects to the audience of their peers.
HPS4103H: The Technological Underground: New Methods in History of Technology
Tuesdays 1 - 3
Course Description: This course examines new and emerging methodologies for investigating the histories of technology. It focuses on the concept of the technological underground. Undergrounds have figured powerfully in human histories and imaginations as places of alterity, concealment, exploration, and discovery; as well as spaces of hope, refuge, and fugitivity. The course leads students through a collection of technological undergrounds – real and figurative – to examine the unexplored and underexplored histories of technology. What people and technologies have historically occupied these spaces? How can the idea of the underground help us approach people and technologies traditionally written out of our histories? What can it reveal about agency, resistance, and the category of technology itself? Drawing on recent work in global history, critical race studies, postcolonialism, and digital humanities, the course analyzes the particular challenges posed by source materials and current frameworks and encourages students to develop new ways of thinking and writing the histories of technology.