For your reference, here's what we're up to for the rest of the class (and when): We'll finish up the first third of the course next week:
Meeting 5: Health and Global Justice (2/17)
In meetings 6-8, we'll switch gears a bit to consider the relationship between science and values quite generally. This will involve doing a bit of philosophy of science. Meeting 6 (2/24) will address attempts to understand values scientifically via "sociobiology". Meeting 7 (3/3) will examine recent challenges that science cannot properly be thought of as providing us with "objective" truths due to its thorough contamination with values. In Meeting 8 (3/10), we'll read Part I of Kitcher's book which attempts to find a middle ground conception of science which places values and norms in their proper place.
The next two meetings (3/24 and 3/31) (during which we'll finish Science, Truth, and Democracy) will pick up the themes that we broach in Meeting 5: how should we, as a democratic society, go about ordering our scientific priorities. I'd like to have all of your first papers turned in by the Monday (4/6) after that Meeting 10. (I'll write more about those papers in a separate post shortly — running out of steam here). Then we'll have a week off (well, you'll have a week off: I'll be at a conference) — no class on Tuesday 4/7. [Whew!]
Our last four meetings (the 17th, 21st, 27th of April and May 5th) will be up to you. Mostly: As the 12th Annual Inland Northwest Philosophy Conference will take place from May 1st-3rd at UI and WSU on the topic "The Environment" and several of the papers (including the Keynote) will concern ethical and evidential issues surrounding global climate change, I'd very much like to see one group tackle that issue on the 28th so it's all in our heads before the conference (which you'll be encouraged to attend, btw). I'll send out a post in a few days with more details about how I'd like this to work, but you should be thinking now about different topics you'd like to work on in the context of a final paper/group project. Thumb through the rest of the Rollin book as for some suggestions. Or if any interesting ideas have occurred to you that you don't think are on others' radar, feel free to post them in the comments section here.