PHIL 217 (Topics): Science, Politics, and Social Justice - Fall 2022
PHIL 217 Science, Politics, and Social Justice, Colin Patrick
In my courses I seek more than anything to empower students to push back against this, to be confident in their capacity to recognize arguments and inferences when they come across them, to build confidence in their ability to critically appraise them, to be able to draw out the logical implications of viewpoints and arguments - especially those that they’re under any kind of pressure to accept as “common sense,” and to construct inferences and arguments of their own.
This course critically examines how the sciences inform social practices and policies, impact human well-being, support – or threaten – democratic institutions, and the ways they are shaped by the socio-economic world in which they are embedded, both historically and today. Topics will include the origins of western scientific method and its connection(s) to capitalism; the similarities and differences between western and Indigenous epistemologies and methods – and the implications for how we frame current Indigenous struggles; the concept of evidence-based public policy; climate change and migration; poverty; forestry and land use; the politics of cartography; border patrolling and surveillance in the interest of public health; and the scientific merit – or otherwise – of sociobiology and genetic determinism about intelligence, race, gender, and social hierarchies.