Home / 2021 Summer Courses


First Term: May 1, – June 30, 2021

HPS210H1 Scientific Revolutions I

Course instructor: Brian Baigrie
Day & Time: Tuesdays & Thursdays 12-2
Delivery Method: Online Synchronous
Course Description:  Case studies in the history of science from antiquity to 1800, including the revolutionary work of Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Descartes, Newton, Linnaeus, Lavoisier, and Herschel. The course is designed to be accessible to science students and non-scientists alike.
Exclusion: HPS200Y1
Distribution Requirement: This is a Humanities or Science course
Breadth Requirement: Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2)

Course code: HPS300H1 Topics in History and Philosophy of Science and Technology: A Philosophical and Interdisciplinary Examination of Therapeutic Drugs

Course instructor: Austin Due
Day & Time: Mondays & Wednesdays 10-12
Delivery Method: Online Synchronous
Course Description: This course introduces students to philosophical and interdisciplinary issues concerning the development, regulation, and use of therapeutic drugs in clinical research and medical practice. Students will learn to analyze and write about the implications – social and biophysical – of these widely-used health technologies. Fundamental matters in medicine regarding causality, validity, evidence, norms, and experimentation will be stressed, while highlighting lessons from historical disasters involving thalidomide, diethylstilbestrol, oxycodone, and rofecoxib. No background in philosophy of science or biomedicine is required.
Distribution Requirements: Humanities

Second Term (July 1 – August 31, 2021)

Course code: HPS301H1 Topics in the History of Science: Science and Subjects of Empire in the Long Nineteenth Century

Course instructor: Sarah Qidwai
Day & Time: Mondays & Wednesdays 1-3
Delivery Method: Online Synchronous
Course Description: This course will introduce students to central debates in the global history of science and empire, with special emphasis on science, technology and medicine in the British Empire. The word “subjects” in the course title is a double entendre: we will examine not just experimental human subjects of scientific disciplines, but also those who were political subjects of colonial rule. Furthermore, we will cover a number of geographic regions, including India, Canada, and Australia, as a means of assessing the implications of ‘science’ in diverse colonial settings.
Distribution Requirements: Humanities
Breadth Requirements: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)

Course code: HPS371H1 Epistemology and Societal Implications

Course instructor: Alex Djedovic
Day & Time: Tuesdays & Thursdays 1-3
Delivery Method: Online Synchronous
Course Description: The COVID-19 pandemic has led to significant changes in our daily lives. This course will examine the pandemic and the public response through a philosophy of science lens. In particular, students will explore philosophical issues about how the healthcare community generates knowledge and how that knowledge is used to inform responses to a major public health crisis. The course will also provide a brief history of pandemics and examine Coronavirus in a historical context. Epistemological issues regarding pandemic modelling and epidemiology, clinical research and generalizability of findings, diagnostic testing, public health response (e.g. border closures, protective masks, social distancing, isolation, testing and tracking), and economic and social impact will be covered. Portrayals of the pandemic by media, government, and scientists will also be examined. Readings will be drawn from a variety of academic disciplines and popular sources. Assignments will consist of written reflections on course material and a term paper.
Prerequisite: 4.0 credits
Breadth Requirements: Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2)