December 2009

Jeffrey L. Kasser’s lecture course on the Philosophy of Science is currently on sale at a reduced price from the Teaching Company. It’s $50 (£30) for the MP3 downloads, a quarter of its usual price. You get 36 lectures of 30 minutes each, so I reckon that’s good value for money.

The reviews on the Teaching Company site are almost all positive, but almost all say the course is densely packed and makes you work. I’d agree with that. I’m not sure how previous knowledge of science or philosophy you need as prerequisites, but I reckon any reasonably educated listener could get something out of the course.

Personally, though the subject matter was dry in places, I really enjoyed the course: Kasser isn’t a boring lecturer, and leavens the dry bits with some humour (the brocosaxodile and the 500 pound beagles stuck in my mind). I’d recommend the course if you’re interested in discussions of what science is, how and whether it makes progress, whether science discovers the “truth”, and so on; or indeed if you’re just interested in trouncing religious apologists who persist in describing Richard Dawkins as a logical positivist (he’s a naive scientific realist, FFS).