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BSC 106 Man and His Environment


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Title: BSC 106 Man and His Environment

BSC 106 Man and His Environment
  • Spring 2009
  • Joseph E. Harvey

Course Outline
  • The Philosophy of Science
  • Basic Ecology
  • The Theory of Evolution
  • Human Evolution
  • Cultural and Social Evolution
  • Sociobiology
  • Food Production and human hunger
  • Human Impacts
  • Atmosphere
  • Water Resources
  • Terrestrial Systems
  • Biological Resources

My Educational Philosophy
Memorization and Critical thinking
  • One cannot create something from nothing we must
    have blocks to build with.
  • Have conversations in your mind to have something
    worth saying
  • Challenge your own ideas
  • Why do I believe this?
  • How do I know this?
  • Am I certain?
  • Is there any chance I may be wrong?
  • Do I know it well enough to explain it?

Modern schooling versus classical schooling
  • When will I ever use this information? The
    fools refrain
  • Example The Greek flute player
  • The essence of an educated person one who
    cultivates knowledge not directly necessary for
  • Modern trade schools how to make the perfect

The Seven Liberal Arts
  • The Quadrivium
  • The Trivium
  • Artithmetic
  • The Study of number
  • Geometry
  • Number in space
  • Music
  • Number in time
  • Astronomy
  • Number in space and time
  • Grammer
  • The study of words
  • Rhetoric
  • Using language effectively
  • Logic the bridge
  • The study of good reasoning

How to do Well
  • Gaping electric jaws
  • Writing makes the exact man
  • To be interesting, be interested
  • Hope is not a strategy
  • Practice taking a test to study for taking a test
  • In short, by yourself some notecards

The Branches of Philosophy
  • Metaphysics
  • The nature of being and the world Cosmology and
  • Epistemology
  • The nature and scope of knowledge
  • Ethics
  • The moral philosophy. The study of how persons
    should act or if such questions are answerable
  • Politics
  • The study of government and the relationship of
    individuals and communities to the state
  • Aesthetics
  • The study of beauty, art, enjoyment,
    sensory-emotional values, etch.
  • Logic
  • The study of patterns of thinking that lead from
    true premises to true conclusions.

  • In classical thought, two spheres intersect to
    describe what we know
  • The sphere of Truth
  • The sphere of Belief
  • Knowledge lies in between
  • How do we acquire knowledge?
  • How do we know what we know?

Internalism and Externalism
  • Rene Descartes (1596 1650), an internalist
  • Senses are the only means for learning of the
    outside world
  • Senses are fallible and limited in scope
  • Ergo, knowledge acquired through senses is
  • To arrive at infallible knowledge, we must
    question all involving the senses
  • This leaves us with only one infallible truth,
    Cogito ergo sum.

The Goal Axiom
  • Axiom
  • a proposition that is not susceptible of proof or
    disproof its truth is assumed to be self-evident
  • Descartess Method
  • To arrive at axial truth, he employs a method
    called hyperbolical/metaphysical doubt, sometimes
    also referred to as methodological skepticism he
    rejects any ideas that can be doubted, and then
    reestablishes them in order to acquire a firm
    foundation for genuine knowledge

Empiricisma form of externalism
  • The branch of the philosophy of knowledge which
    deals with knowledge gained through experience.
    Essentially, that gained through
  • Indicates that man begins as a, tabula rasa,
    learning everything from experience. Denies the
    validity of innate ideas.
  • Plato argued against the tabula rasa with the
    idea of anamnesis.
  • Empiricists of note Aristotle, Locke, Hume

Rationalisma form of internalism
  • Any view appealing to reason as a source of
    knowledge or justification. Lacy, A.R. 1996
  • A system where the criterion of truth is not
    sensory, but rather intellectual and deductive.
  • The introduction of mathematical methods to
    natural philosophy a byproduct of the
  • Rationalists of note Socrates, Descartes,
    Leibnitz, Kant

A Mutually Exclusive Dichotomy?
  • The balance of both views
  • Imagination and the spark

The Scientific Method
What distinguishes Scientific Philosophy?
  • Scientific Empiricism attitude that beliefs are
    to be accepted and acted upon only if they first
    have been confirmed by actual experience we
    should only trust what we experience personally
  • defines the limits of scientific knowledge (i.e.
    our ability to perceive physical phenomena)
  • subject to change with changes in technology

  • Philosophy has always investigated qualities.
    Science distinguishes itself by investigates
    quantities as well.
  • This philosophy became most formally established
    in the 16th and 17th centuries through the
    writings of Francis Bacon and others

The Scientific Method
  • Observation
  • From surrounding generates a testable hypothesis
  • Hypothesis
  • Possible explanations of the phenomena in
  • Must be testable
  • Must generate predications
  • Testing
  • Analysis
  • evaluation of the information acquired from the
    experiment in terms of the hypothesis
  • Synthesis
  • results of the experiment are compared with
    existing scientific knowledge on the subject
  • implications of the results are explained
  • Publication
  • Analysis and synthesis are subjected to review by
    knowledgeable scientists
  • if acceptable, are published in a scientific

Testing and Experimentation
  • Experiment A controlled manipulation of a
    physical phenomenon
  • They are designed to test predictions of a
    specific hypothesis
  • Not all experiments are of equal value
  • Objectivity of tests
  • Number of samples used (more is better)

Testing is about Control
  • Experimental Groups
  • Variables
  • Experimental Group
  • Treatment or condition being studied
  • Control Group
  • No treatment
  • Independent Variable
  • Manipulated by researcher treatment or condition
    under investigation
  • Dependent Variable
  • Response that is measures
  • Controlled Variables
  • All other factors kept the same for all groups in
    the study

Hypotheses, Theories, and Laws
  • Hypothesis A limited statement regarding cause
    and effect in specific situations.
  • It refers to our state of knowledge before
    experimental work has been performed and even
    before new phenomena have been predicted
  • Theory or Law It represents an hypothesis (or a
    group of related hypotheses), which has been
    confirmed through repeated experimental tests.

Laws A model of the Universe
  • Accepted theories and laws become part of our
    understanding of the universe and become the
    basis for investigating less well known areas of
  • New discoveries are first assumed to fit into the
    existing theoretical framework.
  • Laws are questioned only after repeated
    experimental tests of a new phenomenon cannot be
  • Reevaluations of accepted laws have
    revolutionized the world
  • Example Relativity, the understanding of the
    origin of all energy.

Problems with Science
Scientific Fallacy Bacons Idols of the Mind
  • Idols of the Tribe This is humans' tendency to
    perceive more order and regularity in systems
    than truly exists, and is due to people following
    their preconceived ideas about things.
  • Idols of the Cave This is due to individuals'
    personal weaknesses in reasoning due to
    particular personalities, likes and dislikes.
  • Idols of the Marketplace This is due to
    confusions in the use of language and taking some
    words in science to have a different meaning than
    their common usage.
  • Idols of the Theatre This is due to using
    philosophical systems which have incorporated
    mistaken methods. Here Bacon is referring to the
    influence of major philosophers (Aristotle) and
    major religions on science.

Science doesnt answer all questions
  • The Domain of Religion
  • The Domain of Science
  • Who?
  • Why?
  • When?
  • How?

  • Example Ascertaining the meaning of a play.
  • Example The man who mistook his wife for a hat.

Are we all Scientists?
  • Science deals with quantities and measurable
    phenomena. Ergo, it cannot prove the absence of
  • Logic is only as reliable as the knowledge of its
  • Example The sun moving around the earth.
  • Science is often changing its perspectives due to
    new discoveries.
  • Example Quantum physics. Light it behaves as a
    wave and particle. It move the same speed
    despite direction of measurement.
  • The definition of a scientist a man who knew
    nothing until there was nothing left to know.
  • The half life of bad ideas
  • Man is a rational animal secondarily to his
    emotional side