Primary Instructor

Appraising Scientific Reasoning

PHI 31, UC Davis, Summer 2022, 2023

Course Description
Science is in every corner of our daily lives, but how do we approach it? Modern science is so vast that even scientists can master only a fraction of the body of scientific knowledge. We can study scientific knowledge, but at the same time, we can also ask how science works, or more specifically, how scientists reason. This course will provide an introduction to reasoning in science, which some refer to as ‘the scientific method.’ The specific questions we will ask include the following: What makes science so significant? What types of reasoning are valid? How does society impact science? To this end, we will delve deep into key concepts in scientific reasoning such as ‘experimentation’, ‘big data’, ‘deduction’, ‘fallacy’, ‘variable’, ‘causation’, ‘scientific theory’, etc. The learning objectives include developing basic scientific literacy and your abilities to: understand how reasoning in modern science works; critically approach new scientific works as a non-specialist; understand the historical, philosophical, and social background of scientific reasoning; express your ideas through critical writing that engages with science and its methodology.

Ethical & Social Problems in Contemporary Society

PHI 14, UC Davis, Fall 2023

Course Description
This course delves into some of the ethical and social challenges that we are facing right now, including those of humanitarianism, artificial intelligence, microaggression, etc. Using normative ethical theories as our tools for ethical thinking, we will navigate the complex terrain of today's pressing moral and societal issues. Rather than prescribing fixed answers to moral dilemmas, the course fosters an environment where each of us can actively engage with ethical questions, encouraging the development of unique ethical perspectives. The learning objectives include developing abilities to: understand various moral dimensions of contemporary social issues; correctly apply normative ethical theories to concrete cases; develop an informed perspective about ethical and social issues; express your ideas through critical writing and oral presentation.

Introduction to Philosophy

PHI 1, UC Davis, Spring 2023

Course Description
This course offers a thematic introduction to philosophy; we will go through various fundamental philosophical topics, such as knowledge, mind, self, reality, race, morality, and the meaning of life. The objective of this course is not to _tell_ you the definitive answers to philosophical questions. Instead, we aim to equip you with the necessary _tools_ to navigate through philosophical questions independently. The learning objectives of this course thus include developing abilities to: understand basic philosophical concepts and apply them in concrete situations; analyze the basic arguments in some main areas of philosophy and critically assess them; reflect on your philosophical views and present your own philosophical argument; express your ideas through critical writing that engages with philosophical materials.