SCIENZE, MEDICINE, SOCIETY
Learning outcomes of the course unit
To acquire an adequate knowledge of the epistemic basis of scientific discourse, both from a critical and an historical perspective;
to acquire the ability of understanding and analysing critical and historical texts about science (I Dublin descriptor).
To acquire the ability of applying the analytical tools acquired during the course to contemporary scientific discourse;
To learn how to write a brief essay on historical-scientific topics (II Dublin descriptor).
To acquire the ability of arguing and communicating about the historical-scientific concepts examined during the course, and of developing them autonomously (III, IV, V Dublin descriptors).
Course contents summary
Beyond the “two cultures”: science as a human activity
The course takes into account the debate about the differences between scientific and humanistic cultures with the aim of analysing the social and historical dimensions of some fundamental concepts of the scientific endeavour (such as fact, observation, credibility, and collaborative research).
The analysis is carried out through the discussion of recent critical contributions to these topics, supplemented by historical examples taken in particular from the life and work of the Italian man of science Luigi Galvani.
C. Snow, Le due culture, Marsilio, 2005
M. Bresadola, Luigi Galvani. Devozione, scienza, rivoluzione, Editrice Compositori, 2011
Further texts will be assigned at the beginning of the course.
The course will be in the form of seminar lectures, in which texts (also in English) will be discussed collectively. Each week the students have to prepare the assigned readings, as to be ready to class discussion.
Assessment methods and criteria
Evaluation consists of two parts:
- the writing of a short essay on one of the concepts or texts dealt with during the course;
- an oral exam, in which the contents of the course and the student’s essay are discussed.
The final score will be determined by the assessment of the written essay (in terms of content, formal structure and argumentation) and of the oral discussion (in terms of student’s acquired knowledge and ability of communicating and contextualising problems). The quality of the student’s participation at class discussion will also be evaluated.