Date : Wednesday, February 13, 2002
Time : 4:30 PM
Location: Willet Science Center Room 101
Professor Eddie Thomas
Department of Philosophy
"The Spider, the Ant, and the Bee - Situating the
Rationalism/Empiricism Debate Within the History of Science"
Abstract: It is commonly held that modern science is best represented by the so-called empiricist branch of modern philosophy, most usually identified by thinkers such as Locke, Berkeley, and Hume. The villains then are the rationalists, represented usually by Descartes, Spinoza, and Leibniz, who are said to believe that the fundamental truths of nature can somehow be derived from reason itself, without the aid of observation. My talk intends to correct this understanding by showing how the concerns of the rationalists were actually (and appropriately) closer to the project of modern science than the concerns of the empiricists. Besides looking at some of the thinkers already mentioned, I will lean heavily on Francis Bacon's "Novum Organum," still one of the great works in the philosophy of science.
Please join us for light refreshments at 4:15. We hope to see you there!