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Subtopic Modern Philosophy Redefining Reality
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PUBLISHED BY , THE GREAT COURSES, Corporate Headquarters. 4840 Westfields Boulevard Suite 500, Chantilly Virginia 20151 2299. Phone 1 800 832 2412, Fax 703 378 3819, www thegreatcourses com. Copyright The Teaching Company 2015, Printed in the United States of America. This book is in copyright All rights reserved , Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above .
no part of this publication may be reproduced stored in. or introduced into a retrieval system or transmitted . in any form or by any means, electronic mechanical photocopying recording or otherwise . without the prior written permission of, The Teaching Company . Steven Gimbel Ph D , Professor of Philosophy, Gettysburg College. P, rofessor Steven Gimbel received his, Ph D from Johns Hopkins University. before joining the faculty at Gettysburg, College where he is a Professor of Philosophy .
At Gettysburg he has received the Luther W and, Bernice L Thompson Distinguished Teaching. Award and was named to the Edwin T Johnson and Cynthia Shearer Johnson. Distinguished Teaching Chair in the Humanities He also serves as Chair of. the Philosophy Department , Professor Gimbel s research focuses on the philosophy of science exploring. WKH QDWXUH RI VFLHQWL F UHDVRQLQJ DQG WKH ZD V LQ ZKLFK VFLHQFH DQG FXOWXUH . interact He has published numerous articles and four books Defending. Einstein Hans Reichenbach s Writings on Space Time and Motion . SORULQJ WKH 6FLHQWL F 0HWKRG DVHV DQG 4XHVWLRQV Einstein s Jewish. Science Physics at the Intersection of Politics and Religion and Einstein . His Space and Times , i, Table of Contents, INTRODUCTION. Professor Biography i, Course Scope 1, LECTURE GUIDES. LECTURE 1, Metaphysics and the Nature of Science 5.
LECTURE 2, H QLQJ 5HDOLW 12, LECTURE 3, Mathematics in Crisis 19. LECTURE 4, 6SHFLDO 5HODWLYLW 26, LECTURE 5, HQHUDO 5HODWLYLW 33. LECTURE 6, LJ DQJ RVPRORJ 40, LECTURE 7, 7KH 5HDOLW RI WRPV 47. LECTURE 8, Quantum Mechanics 54, LECTURE 9, 4XDQWXP LHOG 7KHRU 61. LECTURE 10, Chaos Theory 68, ii, Table of Contents.
LECTURE 11, Dark Matter and Dark Energy 75, LECTURE 12. UDQG 8QL HG 7KHRULHV 82, LECTURE 13, Quantum Consciousness 89. LECTURE 14, H QLQJ 5HDOLW LQ WKH LIH 6FLHQFHV 96, LECTURE 15. Genes and Identity 103, LECTURE 16, 7KH LUWK RI 3V FKRORJ 110. LECTURE 17, XQJ DQG WKH HKDYLRULVWV 117, LECTURE 18.
7KH 5HGLVFRYHU RI WKH 0LQG 125, LECTURE 19, The Caring Brain 132. LECTURE 20, UDLQ DQG 6HOI 139, LECTURE 21, YROXWLRQDU 3V FKRORJ 146. LECTURE 22, 7KH LUWK RI 6RFLRORJ 153, LECTURE 23, Competition and Cooperation 160. iii, Table of Contents, LECTURE 24, 5DFH DQG 5HDOLW 167. LECTURE 25, 6RFLDO 3URJUHVV 174, LECTURE 26, 7KH 5HDOLW RI 0RQH 181.
LECTURE 27, 7KH 2ULJLQ RI LIH 188, LECTURE 28, RSODQHWV DQG WUDWHUUHVWULDO LIH 195. LECTURE 29, 7HFKQRORJ DQG HDWK 202, LECTURE 30, ORQLQJ DQG GHQWLW 209. LECTURE 31, Genetic Engineering 216, LECTURE 32, 0HGLFDOO QKDQFHG XPDQV 223. LECTURE 33, 7UDQVKXPDQV 0DNLQJ LYLQJ RGV 230, LECTURE 34. UWL FLDO QWHOOLJHQFH 237, LECTURE 35, 7KH QWHUQHW DQG 9LUWXDO 5HDOLW 244.
LECTURE 36, DWD QDO WLFV 251, iv, Table of Contents. SUPPLEMENTAL MATERIAL, LEOLRJUDSK 258, v, vi, 5HGH QLQJ 5HDOLW . 7KH QWHOOHFWXDO PSOLFDWLRQV RI 0RGHUQ 6FLHQFH, 6FRSH . I, Q WKLV VHULHV RI OHFWXUHV ZH H DPLQH WKH ZD V LQ ZKLFK VFLHQWL F . and technological advances in the 20th and 21st centuries have forced us. to re envision what we believe to be real Our views of reality derive. from a number of sources religious cultural political and so on but new. WKHRULHV DQG QHZ WRROV FDQ OHDG WR FRQ LFWV ZLWK WKH SLFWXUH RI WKH XQLYHUVH . ZH KROG Q OLJKW RI WKRVH FRQ LFWV ZH DUH IRUFHG WR GHYHORS D QRYHO VHQVH . of what the world is truly like This new sense of things that we derive from. science and technology is not removed from the larger social context but is. UH HFWHG DQG VRPHWLPHV IRUHVHHQ LQ WKH DUWV Q WKLV FRXUVH ZH ZLOO ORRN DW . both the ways in which science has reshaped our understanding of reality. DQG WKH ZD V LQ ZKLFK WKHVH FKDQJHV KDYH LQ XHQFHG WKH ZD ZH OLYH RXU . interactions with one another and the artifacts we create . H ZLOO EHJLQ LQ WKH UVW WZR OHFWXUHV E GLVFXVVLQJ ZKDW ZH PHDQ E reality . where our traditional Western view of reality comes from and the ways in. ZKLFK VFLHQWL F DQG WHFKQRORJLFDO DGYDQFHV LQWHUDFW ZLWK RXU YLHZ RI UHDOLW . On the one hand science simply comes up with ways of organizing what we. VHH 2Q WKH RWKHU KDQG WKHVH RUJDQL DWLRQDO VWUXFWXUHV ZKDW ZH FDOO VFLHQWL F . theories can be interpreted as disclosing aspects of reality itself This. interpretive project comes from science but is the work of philosophers We. H DPLQH WKH LQWHUVHFWLRQ RI WKH VFLHQWL F DQG SKLORVRSKLFDO SURMHFWV FORVHO . In Lecture 3 we examine the state of mathematics at the dawn of the 20th. century With its absolute rigor mathematics was long thought to be the. bedrock of our intellectual framework But at the beginning of the 20th. FHQWXU ZKHQ IDFHG ZLWK EL DUUH UHVXOWV DERXW WKH QDWXUH RI LQ QLW DQG QRQ . Euclidean geometry mathematicians found themselves in the uncomfortable. position of doubting the entire basis for the mathematical program Their. VWUXJJOH ZDV WKH UVW GRPLQR DV WKH IRXQGDWLRQV RI HYHU VFLHQFH ZRXOG . come under scrutiny in the decades that followed , 1.
First to be infected by this radical doubt and the need for complete. reformulation were the physical sciences In the period before the. mathematical concerns began physicists were equally complacent assured. that physics as a science was almost complete We had Isaac Newton s. theory that explained the working of gravitation and mechanics the theory of. motion We had James Clerk Maxwell s theory that accounted for electrical . magnetic and optical phenomena It seemed that we could explain almost. HYHU WKLQJ ZH VHH XW WKH WZR WKHRULHV GLG QRW TXLWH PHVK 6FLHQWLVWV JXUHG . WKDW ZH MXVW QHHGHG VRPHRQH FOHYHU WR JXUH RXW KRZ WKH SLHFHV W WRJHWKHU . Someone clever appeared in the person of Albert Einstein but instead of. unifying the classical view of physics he overturned it with his theories of. special and general relativity and his proof of the existence of atoms We will. examine each of these and the theory of big bang cosmology that followed. from Einstein s work in Lectures 4 through 7 , After Einstein indeed because of another of his results the explanation. for the photoelectric effect wherein light when focused on a piece of. metal causes electrons to be emitted the theory of quantum mechanics. ZDV GHYHORSHG DQG WXUQHG LQWR TXDQWXP HOG WKHRU W LV D VWUDQJH SLFWXUH . of our world in which reality is governed by probabilities that cannot be. eliminated by additional knowledge This leads to a discussion of chaos. theory and systems theory which likewise show us to be living in an. intricate and sometimes unexpectedly complex world We will explore. these advances in Lectures 8 through 10 before turning to the recent. discovery of dark matter and dark energy in Lecture 11 This sets the stage. for a discussion in Lecture 12 of the contemporary project at the heart of. SK VLFV WKH JUDQG XQL HG WKHRU ZKLFK VHHNV D VLQJOH FRKHUHQW H SODQDWLRQ . for all physical phenomena , But does this encompass all observable aspects of the universe What about. human consciousness In Lecture 13 we will look at theories that try to. explain human thought and the appearance of free will in terms of quantum. mechanics Are our minds reducible to our brains and are our brains because. they are made up of nothing but atoms completely open to an explanation. on the basis of physical theory , Scope, 2, This question allows us to turn from the physical sciences to the human. sciences In Lectures 14 and 15 we look at the development of evolutionary. theory and genetics as giving us accounts of who we are But we then ask. whether the biological aspects of humans constitute a complete description . Could there be elements of ourselves that are more than biological We turn. to developments in psychology in Lectures 16 through 21 to examine the. ways in which we were forced to reconsider what it is to be human . But perhaps this too is too small a lens Perhaps we can understand human. nature only by understanding how we interact with one another in groups . In addition to biological facts culture shapes us as well In Lectures 22. through 26 we look at questions raised in sociology economics and. anthropology Are we competitive or cooperative by nature Is race real Is. humanity progressing , In Lectures 27 and 28 we turn to a larger view of life itself Where did life. on Earth come from Are we unique Are we alone Could there be life. elsewhere in the universe , 7KH QDO VHFWLRQ RI WKH FRXUVH WXUQV IURP TXHVWLRQV DERXW WKH QDWXUH RI .
UHDOLW UDLVHG E VFLHQWL F DGYDQFHV WR WKRVH WKDW UHVXOW IURP WHFKQRORJLFDO . developments According to Benjamin Franklin the only two things in life. that are certain are death and taxes Having considered taxes in an earlier. lecture we now ask What about death New advances in medical technology. are leading us to reconsider what death is and whether it is necessary Could. we become immortal Would that be desirable Advances in technology also. lead us to question birth and life What does it mean to be a parent if seven. different people might contribute to bringing a new life into the world What. about the use of genetic engineering and cloning Has the human being. become a blank canvas for us to construct however we choose These are the. topics of Lectures 29 through 33 , In the end we wonder Are humans necessary anymore Instead of thinking. about ways in which we can use technology to change ourselves has. WHFKQRORJ LWVHOI EHFRPH KXPDQ V DUWL FLDO LQWHOOLJHQFH VRPHWKLQJ ZH . should fear or welcome We consider these questions in Lecture 34 If our. technology is not itself human what about the virtual realities it can create. 3, for us The development of the Internet has given rise to cyberspace a. QHZ ORFDWLRQ IRU KXPDQ OLIH H LQWHUDFW ZH FUHDWH DQG ZH QG RXUVHOYHV . existing in a social world that exists parallel to the so called real life we. lead Is the virtual online world as real as the material world We consider. this question in Lecture 35 , In our last lecture we look at the ways in which the online world can lead. us to predict and manipulate the material world in terms of our digital. footprints Data analytics allows someone to predict our actions with a higher. degree of accuracy than we can and we are the ones who choose our actions . Based on a range of factors researchers can use big data to tell us what we. will buy what we will eat and where we will sleep well before we have. been confronted with these decisions Has our technology eliminated our. humanity Is there anything left of the way we thought reality was shaped . 7KHVH DUH WKH SURYRFDWLYH TXHVWLRQV ZH ZLOO DVN LQ WKLV FRXUVH . Scope, 4, 0HWDSK VLFV DQG WKH 1DWXUH RI 6FLHQFH, HFWXUH . T, he study of reality is what philosophers call metaphysics Although.
philosophers have traditionally discussed metaphysical questions. from a purely conceptual standpoint advances in science have forced. a reevaluation of some traditional metaphysical views In this lecture we ll. consider the example of the discovery of the germ theory of illness The. discovery of harmful bacteria causing disease forced us to reassess how the. human body works and how it relates to the surrounding world We ll also. VHH WKH FRQQHFWLRQ EHWZHHQ VFLHQWL F WKHRULHV DQG RXU SLFWXUHV RI UHDOLW LQ . the work of historian and philosopher Thomas Kuhn whose concept of a. SDUDGLJP LOOXVWUDWHV WKH LGHD WKDW HYHU VFLHQWL F WKHRU FRQWDLQV D ZRUOGYLHZ . within it , 0HWDSK VLFV 7KH 6WXG RI 5HDOLW , z Ren Descartes known as the father of modern philosophy began. his intellectual odyssey with this question How do we know. that there is a reality outside our own minds We each know that. we have experiences and we can be sure of these experiences . therefore each of us can be sure that we exist But how do we know. that the internal experiences we have correspond to objects outside. our minds , z You can see smell touch and taste a loaf of bread but those. experiences are in your mind not out in the world How then do. you know that there even is a world out there and if there is how do. you know that it resembles the world of your internal experience If. all of your experiences are in your mind how do you know that the. thing giving you the bread experiences is in fact bread . z Perhaps Descartes considers you are merely dreaming or. WKHUH LV DQ HYLO GHPRQ DUWL FLDOO IHHGLQJ H SHULHQFHV LQWR RXU . mind creating a false universe that you wrongly believe is real . Descartes ultimately rejects this hypothesis in part because there. 5, are surprising regularities in our experiences that are beyond our. ability to control or create When we keep careful track of our. observations intricate patterns emerge that can be generalized to. systems we had never previously known or imagined . Professor of Philosophy Gettysburg College P rofessor Steven Gimbel received his Ph D from Johns Hopkins University before joining the faculty at Gettysburg College where he is a Professor of Philosophy At Gettysburg he has received the Luther W and Bernice L Thompson Distinguished Teaching

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