History, Philosophy & Sociology of Science

The History, Philosophy, and Sociology of Science (HPS) curriculum provides students with an expansive view of what science is and how it functions in society. Concepts, theories, and methods from the humanities and social sciences lead to key questions about how science and scientists acquire authority, the ethical boundaries of scientific practice and technology, as well as how scientific knowledge is produced, by whom, and to what consequence.

Some of the questions we explore in HPS are:

  1. Why is climate change so controversial in the United States?
  2. Are GMOs safe to eat and to grow? To what extent can we be certain?
  3. Under what conditions do technological developments contribute to societal progress?
  4. Has medicine helped or hindered equality among humans?
  5. Can science help us answer moral questions?

HPS students not only gain important knowledge about science and society, but also develop skills essential to academic and civic life. HPS students learn to analyze a multitude of information sources, think critically about contemporary issues, and learn to write and communicate with purpose. 

HPS Courses

All students take LB 133, two 300-level courses, and LB 492.

All course details, including semesters and times offered, can be found on the Office of the Registrar's website.

LB 133: Introduction to History, Philosophy & Sociology of Science

Introduction to the history, philosophy, and sociology of science, technology, the environment, and medicine. Instruction and practice in formal writing

LB 304: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (LGBTQ) and Sexuality Studies

Interdisciplinary study of the history, politics, theories, science, cultures, and communities of lesbian, gay, transgender, queer, and intersex people including a global perspective

LB 321A: Science and the Public - Arts and Humanities (W)

Examines the relationship between science and society, public engagement with science and technology, public expressions of scientific knowledge, and science in culture. Emphasis on the scholarship of the arts and humanities.

LB 321B: Science and the Public - Social Sciences (W)

Examines the relationship between science and society, public engagement with science and technology, public expressions of scientific knowledge, and science in culture. Emphasis on the scholarship of the social sciences.

LB 321B:  Science and the Public - Social Sciences (W)

Interdisciplinary study of technology and innovation in relation to science and/or medicine. Emphasis on scholarship and methodologies from the social sciences.

LB 322A: Advances in Science and Technology - Arts and Humanities (W)

Interdisciplinary study of technology and innovation. Emphasis on methodologies, scholarship, and theoretical approaches from the arts and humanities.

LB 322B: Advances in Science and Technology - Social Sciences (W)

Interdisciplinary study of technology and innovation in relation to science and/or medicine. Emphasis on scholarship and methodologies from the social sciences.

LB 323A:  Science in a Global Context - Arts and Humanities (W)

Explores scientific practice and relevance in a global context. Emphasis on scholarship from the arts and humanities.

LB 323B:  Science in a Global Context - Social Sciences (W)

Explores scientific practice and relevance in a global context. Emphasis on scholarship from the social sciences.

LB 324A:  Science and Sex, Gender, Sexuality - Arts and Humanities (W)

Interdisciplinary study of sex, gender, and sexuality in relation to science and/or medicine. Emphasis on scholarship and methodologies from the arts and humanities.

LB 324B:  Science and Sex, Gender, Sexuality - Social Sciences (W)

Interdisciplinary study of sex, gender, and sexuality in relation to science and/or medicine. Emphasis on scholarship and methodologies from the social sciences.

LB 325A:  Science and the Environment - Arts and Humanities (W)

Interdisciplinary study of how and why humans have transformed their environments, as well as changes in people’s attitudes about nature and wilderness over time. Emphasis on scholarship and methodologies from the arts and humanities.

LB 325B:  Science and the Environment - Social Sciences (W)

Interdisciplinary study of the interrelationship between human systems and natural systems, including human drivers of environmental impact and solutions to environmental problems. Emphasis on scholarship and methodologies from the social sciences.

LB 326A:  Medicine and Health - Arts and Humanities (W)

Interdisciplinary study of health and medicine. Emphasis on scholarship and methodologies from the arts and humanities.

LB 326B:  Medicine and Health - Social Sciences (W)

Interdisciplinary study of health and medicine. Emphasis on scholarship and methodologies from the social sciences

LB 327A:  Scientific Practice - Arts and Humanities (W)

Motivations and methodologies of the scientific endeavor, as well as the institutions that support it. Historical perspectives on the development of scientific practice, ethical implications of scientific work, and the impact of cultural practices, norms, and identities on scientific innovation. Emphasis on scholarship and methodologies from the arts and humanities.

LB 327B:  Scientific Practice - Social Sciences (W)

Explores the motivations and methodologies of scientific endeavors and the relationships between science and other major human institutions such as religion, politics, government, and the economy. Emphasis on scholarship and methodologies from the social sciences.

LB 330:  Topics in History, Philosophy, and Sociology of Science (W)

Topics in history, philosophy, and sociology of science, technology, the environment, and medicine.

LB 331:  Literature and Science (W)

Representations of science, technology, the environment, and medicine in texts drawn from science fiction, Gothic, and utopian literature, or mainstream writings.

LB 332:  Technology and Culture (W)

History of technology with special emphasis on the interaction of technical innovation and other elements of culture.

LB 333:  Topics in History of Science (W)

Various themes or periods in physical/biological science. May emphasize patterns of theory development, changes in explanatory aims and standards or interaction of social and cultural factors with scientific ideas, practices, instrumentation or experimentalism.

LB 334:  Science, Technology, and Public Policy (W)

Formation, implementation, and evaluation of public policy related to science, technology, the environment, and medicine.

LB 335:  The Natural Environment: Perceptions and Practices (W)

American attitudes toward the natural environment and related public and private institutions.

LB 336:  Gender, Sexuality, Science, Technology (W)

Significance of gender in relation to science, technology, the environment, and medicine.

LB 355  Philosophy of Technology (W)

Examination of the desirability of technology, its social forms, and its alternatives. Conventional productivist, ecological progressive, and radical humanist outlooks.

LB 368: Science, Technology, and Society

Role of science and technology in social change. Values and ethics in contemporary perspectives, controversies, and cases. Science and technology as forms of knowledge.

Bioethics Minor

The minor in Bioethics is available as an elective to all MSU undergraduate students.

Learn more about the Bioethics minor

Faculty

Visit the Faculty and Staff Directory and select Subject Area: HPS to read the names and biographical information of Briggs HPS faculty.