Course date

6 July - 31 July, 1998
Application deadline
15 February, 1998
Course Director(s): 

Mark Notturno

Central European University, Budapest, Hungary
Course Faculty: 

Joseph Agassi

Tel Aviv University, Israel

Judith Buber Agassi

Tel Aviv University, Israel

Steve Fuller

University of Durham, United Kingdom

Aleksandar Kron

University of Belgrade, Serbia

Miklos Redei

Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Methods, London School of Economics, UK
Karl Popper wrote that the aim of science is truth, and that the objectivity of science depends
not upon the objectivity of individual scientists, but upon the friendly/hostile cross-fire of
critical discussion that scientists undertake in their pursuit of truth. It has been a
commonplace that science is a social institution ever since. But Popper also wrote that social
institutions must be both well-designed and well-manned, and that open society cannot
survive if science becomes the exclusive domain of a closed set of experts.
 
But how is it possible, without being an expert, to become an expert in judging experts? Is
academic freedom today merely academic? Should the state restrict the flow of scientific
information for `security' reasons? Should scientists play a special role in decisions regarding
the applications of the technologies that they develop? Is peer review necessary for pruning
the tree of knowledge, or is it just a covert form of censorship? Should our top scientists have
special access to government officials? Should military and business interests be represented
in university curricula? Has the `militarization' of science promoted or impeded basic
research? Should the state spend as much money on science as it currently does? Should
judicial systems and parliamentary bodies be responsible for judging whether or not a theory
is `scientific', or whether or not a technology or drug is `safe', or whether or not a theory
can be taught in schools?
 
Science and The Institution is a four week CEU-SUN course that will run for the entire
month of July, 1998.
 
Its teaching format will consist of:
 
1. tutorials, in which each student would meet with an instructor for at least four one-hour
sessions each week to discuss philosophical problems posed by our readings and
discussions; and
 
2. seminar discussions, in which the students and the instructors would meet for three
three-hour sessions each week as a group to discuss the issues raised by our texts.
 
3. lectures, by the course director and faculty.