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[course] Sciences & Humanities 2016
Posted: 08 September 2016 08:12 PM
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Dear students,

Great seeing all of you on Tuesday! While I am writing this you will probably be on the bus to Linz, heading for the traditional opening of an exciting new semester at MediaTech. Given these circumstances I will avoid mentioning the word ‘homework’ and confine myself to saying that the following link leads to some nice goodies related to the first meeting of Sciences & Humanities (taking place Friday September 16th at 10am in room 413).

http://liacs.leidenuniv.nl/~duijnmjvan/SHweb/

Here the full references of the two text you will be expected to read:

- C.P. Snow (1959) ‘The Two Cultures’. Rede Lecture. Cambridge, Cambridge UP.
- The General Introduction and excerpts from Chapter 1 of M. Curd & J.A. Cover (1998) Philosophy of Science. The Central Issues. New York/London: W.W. Norton & Co.

In addition, for each text I would like you to write down one question that you had during or after reading, and one insight that you gained from it. In total you will thus have two questions and two insights written down (you’ll probably/hopefully have plenty more, but just pick you favourite ones!). Use not more than one side of an A4 and make sure you can access your preparations during class, as you may be asked to share them during the discussion.

That’s all for now. See you in Linz!

Max

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Posted: 16 September 2016 07:18 PM   [ # 1 ]
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Dear all,

For our second meeting, taking place Friday 23rd of September, please (re)read the following texts:

- The General Introduction and excerpts from Chapter 1 of M. Curd & J.A. Cover (1998) Philosophy of Science. The Central Issues. New York/London: W.W. Norton & Co.
- Preface and Introduction from R. Bod (2013) A New History of the Humanities. The Search For Principles and Patterns from Antiquity to the Present. Oxford: Oxford UP.

Bod’s book is in the library in 413. A copy will also be available in the Course Vault from Monday morning.

Homework for this weeks includes two parts:
1) For each of the two texts above: please write down one question that occurred to you during or after reading, and one insight that you gained from it.
2) Is C.P. Snow’s essay still of any value today? Collect a news item illustrating that it is or isn’t. Motivate your choice in a few sentences and provide a(n exact) reference to Snow’s text.

Use at most one side of an A4 paper (excluding a printscreen/copy of the news item) and remember: don’t hand in more than two questions, two insights, and one news item + brief motivation. If you have more, just select your favourite ones!

Combine both in one PDF (the written A4 and the screenshot/copy of the news item) and it to me via email, attached as a PDF. before noon on Thursday. Please write ‘SH’ in the subject line.

Have a good weekend, see you next week!

Kind wishes, Max

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Posted: 23 September 2016 04:09 PM   [ # 2 ]
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Dear all,

For our third meeting, taking place on September 30th, we will dive a bit deeper into Kuhn’s work. Please read the introduction by Ian Hacking to his famous 1962 book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. The book is in the library in 413 and a copy of the introduction can be found in the course vault.

Hacking, I. (2012). ‘Introductory Essay’. In: T. Kuhn. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.. Fourth Edition, 2012 [1962]. Chicago: Chicago UP, pp. vii-xxxvii.

As a homework assignment, please write a very brief essay (~1/2 side of an A4/250-300 words) on one of the key figures of the so-called ‘Copernican Revolution’, starting with Copernicus’ work in the 16th century and ending with Newton’s work in the 17th century. You can pick Copernicus, Brahe, Keppler, Galileo, Newton, or any other figure associated with this scientific ‘revolution’. Explain in a few sentences how your figure of choice (and his work) is related to Kuhn’s philosophy of science. You can use Wikipedia, but use at least one other source and provide full references according to academic standards (any format is fine; use APA if you need guidance). Note that there are multiple books in the library in 413 that may be of help.

Furthermore, don’t forget the question/discussion hour next Monday, 26th of September at 2.00pm in room 413.

Also, I forgot to say that the traditional MediaTech Borrel will take place on Tuesday 27th, 5.00pm, in the Foo Bar (Snellius Building, ground floor). This event is organised by older-year MT students to meet the first-year’s (=you) and there will be free drinks for at least some rounds.

All best, see you next week!

Max

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Posted: 23 September 2016 04:09 PM   [ # 3 ]
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Dear all,

For our third meeting, taking place on September 30th, we will dive a bit deeper into Kuhn’s work. Please read the introduction by Ian Hacking to his famous 1962 book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. The book is in the library in 413 and a copy of the introduction can be found in the course vault.

Hacking, I. (2012). ‘Introductory Essay’. In: T. Kuhn. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.. Fourth Edition, 2012 [1962]. Chicago: Chicago UP, pp. vii-xxxvii.

As a homework assignment, please write a very brief essay (~1/2 side of an A4/250-300 words) on one of the key figures of the so-called ‘Copernican Revolution’, starting with Copernicus’ work in the 16th century and ending with Newton’s work in the 17th century. You can pick Copernicus, Brahe, Keppler, Galileo, Newton, or any other figure associated with this scientific ‘revolution’. Explain in a few sentences how your figure of choice (and his work) is related to Kuhn’s philosophy of science. You can use Wikipedia, but use at least one other source and provide full references according to academic standards (any format is fine; use APA if you need guidance). Note that there are multiple books in the library in 413 that may be of help.

Furthermore, don’t forget the question/discussion hour next Monday, 26th of September at 2.00pm in room 413.

Also, I forgot to say that the traditional MediaTech Borrel will take place on Tuesday 27th, 5.00pm, in the Foo Bar (Snellius Building, ground floor). This event is organised by older-year MT students to meet the first-year’s (=you) and there will be free drinks for at least some rounds.

All best, see you next week!

Max

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Posted: 01 October 2016 10:15 PM   [ # 4 ]
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Dear all,

For next week’s meeting please read the following texts:
- Page 10-24 from Richard J. Bernstein. 1983. Beyond Objectivism and Relativism: Science, Hermeneutics, and Praxis. Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania P.

- Kafka’s parable ‘Vor dem Gezetz’, which can be found in the original German here:
http://gutenberg.spiegel.de/buch/franz-kafka-erz-161/5
And translated into English here:
http://www.kafka.org/index.php?aid=165

- Excerpts from Derrida’s reading of Kafka’s parable, to be found here:
http://www.anderspaulin.com/index.php?/text/before-the-law-derrida-excerpt/

Bernstein’s book is in the library in 413 and an excerpt is available from the Vault.

You don’t have to hand in homework this week. Please concentrate on the reading and then write down for yourself 1 question and 1 insight about either Bernstein, or Kafka, or Derrida (or all if you wish). Bring your notes with you to class, so that I can ask some of you to share their questions and insights.

Remember: de university is closed on October 3rd due to ‘Leids Ontzet’, a big party throughout the entire city. It’s nice to explore some music on the streets especially on the 2nd of October. Have fun!

All best, Max

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Posted: 05 October 2016 03:53 PM   [ # 5 ]
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Hey Max, we cannot get access to the pages and the excerpt about Bernstein in the course vault.

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Posted: 05 October 2016 07:04 PM   [ # 6 ]
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I came across this article today, I remember we briefly discussed this last year and someone also did a project about reading and social development I believe!

http://www.psypost.org/2016/10/failed-replication-study-shows-reading-literary-fiction-doesnt-boost-social-cognition-45214

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Posted: 06 October 2016 03:53 PM   [ # 7 ]
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Hi Kaan and all,

Please try again now: there was an issue with the rights of the files which should be resolved now.

I’m sorry about this––last year there were zero problems with the vault, but this year there have been a few. I’ve just started a conversation about moving the entire thing to a different location; more news about this tomorrow.

All best! Max

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Posted: 07 October 2016 03:49 PM   [ # 8 ]
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Dear all,

Homework for next week contains three parts:

1) The mock-exam question, which can be found here:
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1Rbj96mng_xqgdFWM6W9PnDCz4CXiu4ltKyl5aIFUHTA/viewform

This will give you an impression of what the exam will be like. There will be around 4-5 of such questions (each with their subquestions). You’ll need to answer these in 2 hours at the exam, so keep in mind that this one mock question should take you around 1/5th of that time.
Note that the exam is on Friday November 11th, same time and place as where the course normally is.

2) Furthermore, please have another go at Bernstein’s text for next week. Reread it carefully. Look up (you may use Wikipedia) what Descartes’ “meditation” about the “evil daemon” entails; this is useful background knowledge.

3) Write a very brief essay in which you bring forward ONE statement that you consider to be ABSOLUTELY TRUE and explain how you think this can be proven.
As usual, you may use only one side of an A4 paper and make sure you’ve sent it to me by Thursday noon.
(Example statements are—but don’t be influenced by these too much, these are just random examples!—: “Water boils at a 100 degrees Celcius”, “I am human”, “Heavier objects do not fall faster that lighter objects if one abstracts from air resistance”....etc).

Then this: the calendar says that we have three meetings left. However, it wrongly calls the final meeting (October 28th) ‘question hour’ starting 11am. Note that this is a normal class, starting 10am! The question hours are every second Monday, as you know.

All best,

Max

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Posted: 14 October 2016 05:12 PM   [ # 9 ]
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Dear all,

**I’ve deleted the previously attached PDF with possible answers, given that it contained an issue: part of the text had fallen out of the textboxes, so answers were incomplete. Sorry—I pasted stuff into Powerpoint and didn’t check properly. You’ll see my corrections on your entries tomorrow. Furthermore, we’ll go through the right answers briefly next class**

For coming Friday, please read Everitt & Fisher (1995) Chapter 12 (Quine) & 13 (Rorty). See the Vault.

N. Everitt & A. Fisher. (1995). Modern Epistemology. A New Introduction. New York: McGraw-Hill.

As a homework assignment, please formulate 1 question and 1 insight per chapter (so that is four items in total), on one side of an A4. Send it to me in PDF before Thursday noon.

All best, and: NO WORRIES, all will be fine!

Max

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Posted: 17 October 2016 04:35 PM   [ # 10 ]
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Dear all,

Please find the corrected mock-exam questions here:
http://mjvd.nl/SHWeb/

I have anonymised the entries, but you’ll be able to find your own answers I presume. They are in order of submission (earliest first, latest last)

Also, you can find a text document with sort-of model answers––but as said, there are multiple ways of answering, what counts is how well-structured your argumentation is. We’ll discuss some of it again in the next class, along with the two chapters from Everitt & Fisher (Quine and Rorty)

All best! Max

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Posted: 25 October 2016 01:50 AM   [ # 11 ]
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Dear all,

As said, there is no obligatory new reading for coming Friday. However, please do study the Quine and Rorty chapters once again!

Also, if you have time and stamina, do check the optional text: Bod’s final chapter, containing summaries of his conclusions and insights. (See Vault)
Important in class will be his use of the terms ‘emergence’ and ‘reduction’.

I will upload the study sheet as soon as I have produced the updated version. This may be Thursday, but perhaps I can do it earlier—if so, I’ll post a message here.

Furthermore we’ll have another question hour on Monday 7th at 10am. Also, registration for the individual sessions will soon begin—I’ll post a link to the excel asap.

All best, Max

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Posted: 27 October 2016 10:48 PM   [ # 12 ]
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Hi all––since this afternoon the study sheet is available from the Course Vault!
More tomorrow (also about the individual sessions)
Max

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Posted: 31 October 2016 01:18 PM   [ # 13 ]
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The question hour will be on the 7th of november from 17:00 until 18:00?

Just checking!

Best,

Stijn

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Posted: 07 November 2016 10:10 AM   [ # 14 ]
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Dear all,

Please find here the link to the timetable for the individual sessions:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1s9mi0N1gQRw8EDt5Mlk0o2UTDfIJe4m_39xM85s613k/edit?usp=sharing

Please put your name in a free slot.
Some may prefer to meet in a somewhat later stage, when they have already started working on their assignment, so that they can benefit from mid-way feedback. Please use December 12th in that case. You may email me for the establishment of the topic in the week after the exam. However, please only email me about this if your individual session is in December.

Prior to the session, you please do the following:
- bind all your homework assignments in chronological order: [Curd&Cover;+Bod+news item] + [Copernican Revolution] + [absolute truth] + [Everitt&Fisher;];
- print them;
- make sure to staple them together (!);
- put the entire package in my pidge in the LIACS post room.

You will get you package back with hand-writtem comments.

Thanks and see you at the question hour!

Max

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Posted: 07 November 2016 10:12 AM   [ # 15 ]
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OH Stijn—somehow your message escaped my attention! I have 10am today in my calendar for the question hour… (which is now)
Anyway, I’ll go to 413 now and check who is there. To be followed up.
Max

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