Scientific Explanation (PHIL 730:556 | Spring 2011 | Rutgers)
- 03/7/11: I have updated the syllabus page to include selected background readings for chapter 3 (i.e., items newly cited in chapter 3 of Woodward's book).
- 02/9/11: Next week, we'll (finally) start going through Making Things Happen. Come to class ready to discuss Chapter 1 and some of Chapter 2. I have posted a bunch of (optional) background readings which are cited in Chapters 1 and 2 of the text. There's a lot of interesting stuff there, including material from the psychological, economic, and statistical literature.
- 02/2/11: Next week, I'll spend some time talking about "Inductive Logic" and the history of Inductive/Statistical Explanation. I've added my articles "Inductive Logic" and "Goodman's 'New Riddle'" to the readings for next week (as a final pre-amble to Salmon's stuff on the history of Inductive/Statistical Explanation). I've also added my spiel on "Inductive Logic" to my notes for next week. Once we're through this material, we'll begin to discuss Woodward (chapter 1). But, next week, we'll still be doing historical background. [And, this will be our final week of background material.]
- 01/25/11: I've decided (on the request of some students in the seminar) to cover some basic material on probability and its interpretations next week (before getting into the rest of the Salmon stuff). So, this week's recommended readings (in addition to the stuff already mentioned in my notes — the stuff on on D-S, I-S, and S-R in Salmon) include some stuff from my probability and inductive logic course and the SEP. My notes will be pretty self-explanatory and inclusive as well. [I have also updated my notes from today (to be more careful about the first triviality we discussed today — which is blocked by H&O's third condition).]
- 01/25/11: I've added one final guest seminar presenter to our schedule — Rachael Briggs. She will be talking (among other things) about Woodward vs Lewis on counterfactuals. I've also put the readings for Chris Hitchcock's visit (2/22) on the schedule. He'll be talking about some foundational metaphysical (and epistemological) issues having to do with properties, variables, and causal modeling. [There are some great background readings for Cricky's visit as well…]
- 01/18/11: For next week, please read pages 11–83 of Salmon's Four Decades of Scientific Explanation (really, you only need to focus on the parts of the first 2.5 "decades" that I mention in my background notes).
- 01/18/11: Make sure to have a look at the syllabus page and the notes and handouts page (both of which will be updated as the semester unfolds).