Biomedical Engineering

BME Departmental Seminar: Elaine Landry, Ph.D., Philosophy, UC Davis

If an electron spins in the forest...

As is typically characterized, philosophers are generally concerned with questions of existence, truth and knowledge. What is less known is that some philosophers apply these questions to science. From Pre-Socratic natural philosophers to Einstein, they ask these questions of, for example, biology, psychology, physics and even mathematics. In this talk I will begin with the various accounts of a scientific theory, moving to consider the role of models, the place of data and the two competing views that are offered, viz., the realist and instrumentalist views. After considering the basic arguments for these (i.e., the no miracles and the pessimistic meta-induction arguments) I will then consider how each position comes to answer the traditional questions of existence, truth and knowledge.  

When: Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014 4:10 PM

Where: 1005 GBSF

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