From 12th of February until 29th of March 2018, two open courses will be taught at the School of Advanced Studies. The courses are open, so everybody is welcome. Participants will receive a certificate of the course completion issued by SAS if they attend regularly.
Free and open admission.
Contemporary Philosophy of Science
Monday and Wednesday from 7 p.m. to 8.30 p.m. The course is taught in English.
This course is an introduction to philosophy of science, concentrating on the contemporary period (essentially the last century). To put these modern conceptions in perspective, we will make frequent detours to historic highlights, such as to the philosophy of science of Aristotle and of Democritus, and to the paradigm changes made by such giants of science as Copernicus, Newton, Darwin, etc.
One important question of philosophy of science is: what distinguishes ‘science’ from other cognitive fields and activities? Another essential question we will treat is: Can philosophy and science interact fruitfully? In this course we will try to show that, actually, science and philosophy always go hand in hand, and naturally inform each other in a bi-directional way. In some more detail, we will study questions as: What is science? What is pseudoscience? What are the main ingredients of scientific discovery? Can we characterize ‘strokes of genius’ in the sciences – is there a general theory for paradigm-changing creativity? How are scientific statements justified? What degrees of ‘certainty’ (or ‘truth’) do we have in science?
If time is left, we will also address some of the sociological aspects of science. Important authors we will encounter, besides Democritus and Aristotle, are Hempel, Popper, the Vienna Circle, Kuhn, Quine and very recent authors. As said, in order to make things definite, we will often have a look at typical case studies from the special sciences, such as biology, physics, psychology etc. Prerequisites for this course are general and introductory high-school knowledge of science and philosophy; and as much curiosity as possible.
Introduction to Game Studies
Tuesday and Thursday from 7 p.m. to 8.30 p.m. The course is taught in Russian.
This open lecture course is devoted to the history of video games as well as various research approaches for studying them in more critical depth. What is a video game? How are they different from any other medium, such as text or film? What are the major genres of video games, and how did they evolve?
Along with these theoretical issues, we will also discuss major controversies around games, such as their relation to violence and addiction, sexuality and gender, science and business, education, war and military-indrustrial complex. Finally, we will also touch upon the recent developments in video game industry, such as crowdfunding and early access games, and phenomena indicating games’ potential to become more than just entertainment, such as serous games and counter-gaming.