105A. Ways of Knowing in Life and Human Sciences
Lecture, three hours; discussion, one hour. Enforced requisite: course 5 or M71A or M72A. Course 105A is not requisite to 105B. Introduction to study of epistemology to train students to recognize different ways of knowing what we know. In life and human sciences, instruments and methods are use to study, measure, and experiment. Exploration of how they are manifest in technologies that cut across disciplines to help students evaluate explanatory models, standards of proof, and qualitative versus quantitative studies. Explorations may include DNA sequencing, tissue cultures, bioinformatics, statistics, photography and cinema, charts, trees, and databases. DNA sequencing is used to study gene functions, evolutionary patterns, and disease and plays role in legal context to reconstruct aspects of human history or to trace identity of people. Databases play role in life sciences in administrative, commercial, and legal contexts. Photography is used in sciences and medicine (e.g., X-ray photography), as well as in art and forensics. Letter grading.