Homework 1

Phil. 125, Prof. Dowden





Answer all questions in order. Each answer can be given in a few sentences. Type your answers.

1. Describe five philosophically important features of the scientific revolution in Modern Europe in the 17th century. Don’t focus on specific inventions, such as the telescope, or specific discoveries, such as Kepler’s ellipses. Instead, focus on changes in how science is done, shifts in understanding of how the world works, and scientific impacts on our view of the human being's place in nature. Number the features.

2. In the film "12 Monkeys", which was not shown in class, the actor Brad Pitt explains Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis’s work to the actor Bruce Willis. State Dr. Semmelweis's principal hypothesis about the death rate in his hospital in Vienna in the 1840s, and briefly describe what he did to confirm his hypothesis.

3. State the criteria used to distinguish science from non-science by (a) the philosopher of science Michael Ruse from Guelph University in Canada when he testified at the Arkansas creationist trial in the 1980s, and (b) Judge Overton, who presided at the trial.

4. State the six basic principles proposed by Darwin in his theory of evolution, according to Ernst Mayr, that were in conflict with ideas prevailing at the time. Use one or two sentences for each principle; number your answers; and include the following words in each principle:

1) designer; 2) fixed essence; 3) teleology; 4) determinism; 5) common descent; 6) altruism.

5. How would a contemporary biologist, who accepts the theory of evolution as revised since Darwin, explain why our bones are white instead of some other color?