Foundations for IST Research
Study of major methodological, normative, and theoretical issues in philosophy of science related to reserach in information sciences and technology. IST 503 Foundations for IST Research (3) This course is a study of major methodological, normative, and theoretical issues in the philosophy of science related to research in information science and technology. A significant part of this course will involve coordinating issues and problems customarily associated with the philosophy of science in general with current research in information science and technology (IST) in particular. In order to achieve this coordination, the study of classical texts in the philosophy of science will be interspersed at appropriate places with lectures and topics that exhibit relevant faculty research in various IST related disciplines.The course focuses on the main arguments that have been advanced in Anglo-American philosophy of the science for the period beginning about seventy years ago up to the present. The course contradicts the view of a single unitary "philosophy of science." It shows a series of positions and arguments that continue to lead on to still deeper questions. Usually the student will have adopted one of the classical positions without having examines it or defended it rigorously.Readings will progress in a historical fashion through arguments that attempt to provide a justification for the truth claims of science. The course will begin with a consideration of logical positivism in its early forms, i.e. the ideas of the Vienna Circle, and the early Wittgenstein’s theory of meaning. The course will go on to the writings of Karl Popper especially as found in his Logic of Scientific Discovery. Continuing the historical development, Kuhn’s "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions" will be considered. The discussion will then progress to the Popper-Kuhn debates involving the sophisticated falsificationists (Lakatos) and eclectic approaches like Feyerabend’s. Finally, Richard Bernstein’s book, Beyond Objectivism and Relativism is reviewed summarizing the debate. This final view strives to uncover the strong points in the opposing positions reviewed early in the course. Then it sets a hermeneutical position which he derives principally from the philosophy of Hans Georg Gadamer. This position amounts to a new and interesting view on how knowledge is attained in science and in life in general.The course relates the debates in the arguments in the philosophy of science to research issues in IST.