HPS 1702 Junior/Senior Seminar for HPS Majors
HPS 1703 Writing Workshop for HPS Majors
Spring term 2014
This page is accessible via www.pitt.edu/~jdnorton/teaching/1702_jnrsnr_sem

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Instructor: John D. Norton, 817CL, 4-1051,
jdnorton@pitt.edu, http://www.pitt.edu/~jdnorton
Office hours: Monday 2:30-3:30pm, 817CL or by appointment.

When: Monday 12:00 - 2:30pm.
Where: Cathedral of Learning, Room 202

HPS 1702 Junior/Senior Seminar for HPS Majors. This seminar is intended to be a "capstone" experience for majors in history and philosophy of science. So far, each of you have taken an array of courses that specialize in one of other aspect of HPS. The purpose of this seminar is to give you a more advanced understanding of both history of science and philosophy of science than you may have had in your introductory classes. It will also give you direct experience of how someone with a background in HPS synthesizes their history of science and their philosophy of science. The early parts of the seminar will present you with case studies of how historical and philosophical analysis of science can be combined. They are intended to be exemplars, for the only way to learn to create HPS is by doing it. As the seminar proceeds, you will carry out a series of assignments in history and in philosophy of science that will build and combine into a final, term paper project in which you will synthesize history and philosophy of science. The historical part will arise through your researching of some episode in history of science that both interests you and promises to interact in an interesting way with a philosophical topic of interest to you. You will also present your results to the seminar, since learning how to present material is an essential skill for scholars in HPS.

HPS 1703 Writing Workshop for HPS Majors. The goal of this workshop is to develop expertise in writing scholarly work within the discipline of history and philosophy of science. The exercises that comprise the workshop are integrated into the assignments of the Junior/Senior seminar. They are largely practical in character; writing is best learned and improved by doing. The emphases will be on writing simply and clearly; on proper incorporation of historical materials; on cogent formulation and presentation of philosophical theses and arguments; and on conforming your writing the sorts of style sheets commonly used in the HPS literature.

What you will be doing

It is expected that you will attend the seminar each week, having done the assigned preparatory reading beforehand. There will be a smaller assignments, based on the readings, to be done in advance of seminar coverage of the reading to help you be prepared for classroom discussion. Your major assignment will be a project that combines analysis of some episode in the history of science with issues in philosophy of science covered in the seminar. The outcome of the project will be a term paper and a seminar presentation on your project. The project will be broken down into a series of smaller assignments. The exercises for the writing workshop will be carried out in the context of these smaller assignments.


HPS 1702 HPS 1703
Major project
  A. Short historical paper 10% 10%
  B. Longer historical case study 20% 20%
  C. Short philosophical paper 10% 10%
  D.-E.-F. Term paper 30% 60%
  G. Seminar Presentation 10%
Short assignments 20%


I will use courseweb to for submission of larger assignment and to distribute grading information. Courseweb can be accessed via http://courseweb.pitt.edu

Policy on Late Assignments

Late submission of the principal assignments (A-F) is strongly discouraged. Each assignment builds on the ones before, so falling behind in one can lead to a cascade of difficulties. If an extension is sought, it should only be for a few days. The need for the extension should be explained in writing and a date nominated in writing for the time of submission.

The short assignments prepare you for discussion each week. Late submission defeats their purpose and also may give you the advantage of drawing on class discussion. As a result, a short assignment, if submitted late, can score at most 50% of the regular grade.


The materials and activities in this seminar are cumulative; almost everything will build on something earlier in term. So my best advice is to keep on top of the material from the start. Once you fall behind, catching up can be hard. The shorter assignments are intended to help you get into the reading, so take them seriously. I'm happy to meet with you outside regular seminar times. The easiest way to arrange a meeting is to talk to me immediately before or after the seminar or to email me.

Special Needs

If you have a disability for which you are or may be requesting an accommodation, you are encouraged to contact both your instructor and Disability Resources and Services, 140 William Pitt Union, 412-648-7890 as early as possible in the term. For more information, see http://www.drs.pitt.edu/

Academic Integrity

It is expected that both students and the instructor will conform to the University of Pittsburgh's Academic Integrity Code. Please familiarize yourself with the code.