I. COURSE TITLE: Dilemmas, Games, Science & Values
Running as 0952-110-17, TR 3:05-4:20, SCI 227, Fall 1999.
II. CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION:
Can science determine values? Study encounters by historical figures (Galileo, Darwin, Einstein, Heisenberg and Weil) with this question and explore modern responses (Wilson, Gould, Hofstadter, Hardin, Fasolt). Learn to program (C++) and play simple computer games (i.e., Prisoner's Dilemma). No computer background required. (3 credits, Freshman Seminar)
First-year students will benefit from the opportunity to:
IV. COURSE OBJECTIVES:
The course will be self-contained. Computer skills will be acquired as needed, thus there are no prerequisites. Overlapping regions of computer programming, science and values will be explored while examining the question, "Can science determine values?" Therefore, this course is an introduction to further studies in science, philosophy, or computer programming.
V. REQUIRED TEXTS:
Students will read:
VI. COURSE OUTLINE:
A portion of each class session will be devoted to developing the computer expertise necessary to compile and run programs that model course concepts. Topics will be examined in the following order (two class meetings per week assumed):
A. Introduction and overview. Memes = viral sentences. Can you be protected from viral ideas? (1 meeting)
B. Hofstadter - Prisoner's Dilemma - A game that raises issues related to values, cooperation, and strategy. Cellular automata extensions of the Prisoner's Dilemma. Is there a best way to behave/act? (4 meetings)
C. Galileo - science and belief? (3 meetings)
D. Darwin - science and belief? (Voyage of the Beagle, Tape 7, will be viewed) (3 meetings)
E. Einstein - One theory for everything? (2 meetings)
Mid-term (1 meeting)
F. Heisenberg and Gould - For human survival, will science and technology force our ethics to change? (4 meetings)
G. Hardin - Are ethical answers the same in all situations? Analysis of values and actions in shortage and crisis. (3 meetings)
H. Weil - Can logic be used to determine right action? (3 meetings)
I. Wilson - Is biology the basis for ethics? (2 meetings)
J. Fasolt - Can the Social Sciences do a "better" job determining ethics than the Sciences? (1 meeting)
Catch-up & Review - (1 meeting)
Final Exam - R - 12/16, 3:30-5:30p.m., as scheduled by Registrar.
VII. COURSE REQUIREMENTS:
A. No more than three absences are allowed under normal circumstances (if missing daily work and homework are made up). Otherwise grade will be lowered one notch.
B. Constructive class participation.
C. Two word-processed essays that compare and contrast the ideas of syllabus readings. Students, who submit their papers by announced deadlines, will be entitled to revise their papers based upon the instructor's feedback and suggestions.
D. Completion of a computer workbook project.
VIII. STUDENT ASSESSMENT:
Class participation and homework
Paper 1 (score after revision before deadline)
Paper 2 (score after revision before deadline)
Computer Workbook project
Each of the above six items will be weighted equally to determine the student's grade.
IX. FURTHER READINGS:
In addition to selections listed in V, students may expand their horizons by reading:
X. OTHER INFORMATION:
Office: Blodgett 8C, in Physics Department Suite
Updates of class syllabus at http://www.adelphi.edu/~ah17530
Return to my homepage