Re: [asa] science education

From: Gregory Arago <>
Date: Sun May 31 2009 - 06:58:37 EDT

Cameron wrote:
"Right now, there is no science program at any university known to me which requires undergrads to study either the history or philosophy of science generally, or the history or philosophy of their particular discipline. Suppose that universities made it compulsory for *all science majors* to take a least *one semester* of history and/or philosophy of science, or of the history and/or philosophy of their particular scientific discipline.> ... <It is taken for granted in other subjects that university education is not just learning <stuff>, not just learning formulas or facts, but learning to be self-conscious about the foundations, goals, and intellectual limitations of one,s own discipline. Such a course would hardly be an
extraneous course distracting from <real> science; it would be an essential part of a broad scientific education.>

This is precisely what part of the <modernization of higher education> project involves in the Russian Federation today. All PhD candidates, in any academic field, starting in (I believe) 2006, must complete a course and examination in HPS generally as well as in HPS of their particular scientific/scholarly discipline. So, for example, literature students have to pass an exam in HPS as well.
The HPS course and exam replaces the previous examination in Philosophy, which during the Soviet period was of course a front for Marxist dialectics, materialism, etc. There is talk of lack of preparedness of capable teachers, i.e. professors educated on this topic. I personally interviewed several Russian scientists, including an astronomer, biologist, physicist, culturologist, and others on this very topic of the HPS exam (in the context of <science and religion discourse>), who feel that the universities are not prepared to teach such a course as HPS because not enough people are trained in it. They are worried about cadres following a party line (which is similar language to what IDists are suggesting about the <Darwinist hegemony>). I don,t imagine the case would be too different in the USA or Canada about the lack of preparedness to teach HPS, though I,m open to being pleasantly surprised to hear otherwise.
Gregory __________________________________________________________________ Yahoo! Canada Toolbar: Search from anywhere on the web, and bookmark your favourite sites. Download it now

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Received on Sun May 31 06:59:08 2009

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