On Monday, April 23, 7 PM, I (Eliot) will be giving a talk to the Hofstra for the Honors College Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math group, called “What Science Aims At.”
In the presentation, I will explain why I believe it’s important to pursue the question of what science tries to produce, and then describe how the answer might be changing in recent science. I’ll discuss the answer that has dominated our thinking about science for centuries, a view we can call “the Newtonian Ideal.” I’ll examine some of the problems with the Newtonian Ideal and ways those problems have been addressed in the last few years by philosophers of science. Then, in Part 2, I’ll outline an alternative answer I developed in a 2011 article published in Philosophy & Theory in Biology. In that article, I analyzed a body of theory about competition in ecology, and argued that it aims at something other than the Newtonian Ideal. Then, I’ll invite your questions and comments about these ideas, and, if you like, about philosophy of science more generally.
Contact me or Hofstra student Michael Kahen if you’re a student interested in attending.