INTEG 220, Fall 2012
T HE N ATURE OF S CIENTIFIC K NOWLEDGE
T,TH10:00-11:20AM ; EV2 2069
Professor: Ted Richards
Office: EV1, 212
Phone:(519) 888-4567 ext.
Email: [email protected]
Office hours: T& Th 11:30-12:30, and by appointment
(Note: You MUSTinclude ‘INTEG 220’ in the subject line of any emails to me!)
Calendar Description: “This course examines how knowledge is produced in scientific
disciplines, including the nature of inquiry, as well as types of evidence and expertise across
different fields. The course features significant input from scientific practitioners in the form of
Epistemology is the branch of philosophy that examines the nature of knowledge. While
most epistemology courses focus on ordinary, everyday knowledge (is this a dagger I see before
me?), this course will examine the production and products of disciplinaryknowledge (scientific
questions like, from what is this dagger made?). INTEG 220 focuses on epistemological
questions about the natural and physical sciences, while INTEG 221 will emphasize the
humanities and social sciences (and, in particular, the social nature of knowledge).
The course includes multiple cycles of (1) readingand discussing philosophical theories of
scientific knowledge, (2) listening toand interviewing a guest lecturer about the nature of
knowledge in his or her discipline, (3) reflecting on the nature of knowledge in that discipline
through discussion and writing. Following the final guest lecturer, you will work in small groups
to synthesize what you have learned by comparing the nature of knowledge in each discipline.
Towards the end of the course, we will discuss two topics –interdisciplinarity and scientific
expertise – and how they relate to the goals of Knowledge Integration.
By the end of this course you should be able to do the following:
Knowledge/ • Explain what epistemology is and identify epistemological issues
comprehension: • Describe philosophical views of the nature of scientific knowledge
Applying/analyzing: • Thoughtfully apply an epistemological issue to a scientific discipline
• Compare/contrast the nature of knowledge in different disciplines
Evaluating/creating:• Critically evaluate an epistemological issue through reflective writing
Transferrable skills• Improve ability to carefully read and comprehend difficult material
• Practice and improve writing skills for different types of assignments
• Assess the work of your peers in a constructively critical way INTEG 220, Fall 2012
Expectations for this Course
This course is intended to be reading-, writing-, and participation-intensive.
We are all expected to:
• Attend every class & be on time
• Be prepared for lecture & participate NOTE: All emails must include ‘220’ in the
• Listen attentively when others speak subject line!
You are also expected to: You can also expect me to:
• Submit assignments on time, using the • Provide directions for each assignment
appropriatedrop-box onD2L and having at least10 days in advance and allow
appropriately anonymized your work time for students’ questions in class
• Carefully consider instructor feedback on • Provide timely and helpful feedback on
written and oral work participation and course assignments
• Use scheduled office hours for • Be available during office hours and via
consultation (or make an appointment); email; respond to emails within 48
use email for less substantive questions hours
Required Reading Material and Submitting Assignments: D2L
There are no required textbooks for this course; instead, all readings will be posted on D2L.
Please download, print, and bring the readings with you to class. On rare occasions, changes may
be made to the schedule of topics or readings; any changes will be announced in class and on D2L .
Graded work will be evaluated eitherout of 100 points in 5-point increments (e.g., 75, 80, 85) or
by a √-/√/√+. Each assignment carries a different weight in your course grade. Note: there is no
final exam for this course.
Attendance, in-class discussion, Throughout the course
D2L discussion, in-class activities
Short Essay #1 (√) Due Tuesday, October 9
Short Essay #2 (√) Due Thursday, October 25
Peer Reviews (√) Due Thursday, November 1
Short Essay #3 (G) Due Thursday, November 8
Compare & contrast (group) 15% Due Thursday, November 15
Final Paper 25%
Topic & outline Due Thursday, November 29
Final paper Due Tuesday, December 11 INTEG 220, Fall 2012
Participation is based on the following components. (Grades will be determined at the end of
the course, but I will provide mid-term evaluations to give you an idea as to how you’re doing.)
• Attendance: I will take attendance by passing around a sign-in sheet – you are responsible for
signing your name. If you know in advance that you must miss a class, please email mevia
D2L. You are allowed 2 unexcused absences – additional absences will result in a 5-point
deduction from your participation grade for each absence. Frequent late arrivals will also
lower your grade. Students with outstanding attendance records will receive bonus marks
• In-class discussion & D2L posts: A significant portion of your participation grade will be
based on thoughtful, relevant, and respectful contributions to class discussions. Everyone is
expected to participate in small groups; however, if you are not comfortable sharing in
whole-class discussions, you may do more of your participating on D2L.
• In-class assignments/activities: Throughout the semester, there will be a few small activities
or assignments, most of which will take place in class. These will be assessed on a
check/check-plus/check-minus basis, and will go towards your participation grade, unless
Below are brief descriptions of each of the assignments (detailed instructions will be provided at
least ten days in advance of the due date). Unless noted otherwise, written assignments are due
by the start of class on the due date and must be submitted in the appropriate drop-box on D2L.
Before submitting a paper, you must remove your name, student number, and any other
identifying marks, and include your randomly assigned number instead.
• Short essays: After each series of guest lecture visits, you will need to submit a short essay
(no more tahn 750 words), reflecting on an epistemological issue of your choosing and how
you think it relates to the nature of knowledge in the guest lecturer’s discipline.
• Peer reviews: After the 2nd essay has been submitted, each student will receive TWO essays
written by other studentsto read and assess.