Reimagining Science Syllabus

Reimagining Science: Continental Realism and Black Studies’ Philosophies of Science  Syllabus

I was recently discussing with my advisor about how a dream of mine would be to one day teach a Continental Philosophy of Science graduate seminar in a Comparative Literature Department. I’ve always been interested in Continental philosophy’s approach to traditional philosophy of science questions ever since I read Jean Francois-Lyotard’s The Postmodern Condition over a summer in undergrad. I find that the majority of engagements with post-modern criticisms of science and technology too easily accept the narrative that these authors are offering nothing more than ‘anti-realism’ or ‘relativism.’ Instead, however, I would love to teach and read these text together for what they open up in terms of creating/producing a far more imaginative, critical, and radical answer to what science is, and what a philosophy of science can be and/or look like. Below is a mock syllabus of a course thinking Continental Philosophy of Science approaches alongside Black Studies literature. Starting with some seminal text for doing philosophy and history of science in a “Continental” way and then, moving on to reading ‘Post-Modern/Post-structural/Post-Continental’ thought alongside critical contemporary radical theory in Black studies. I may upload the actual text over time.

Week 1: Introduction to A Philosophy of Science

Thomas Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolution

G.W.F. Hegel, “Naturphilosophie”

Martin Heidegger, “The Question Concerning Technology”

Stanford Encyclopedia, “Science and Pseudoscience”

Week 2: Against Method – The Negro as a Problem of the Science of Science

Paul Feyerabend, Against Method: Outline of an Anarchistic Theory of Knowledge

Imre Lakatos, “Falsification and the methodology of scientific research programmes”

Week 3: Unsettling the Principle and Order of Things

Michel Foucault, The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences

Week 4: Post-Modern Certainty

Jean Francois-Lyotard, The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge

Ludwig Wittgenstein, On Certainty

Week 5: The Question of The Cyborg

Jean Baudrillard, Simulation and Simulacra

Nick Bostrom, “Are You Living in A Computer Simulation”

Donna Haraway, “The Cyborg Manifesto”

João Costas Vargas & Joy James, “Refusing-Blackness-as-Victimization: Trayvon Martin and The Black Cyborgs”

Week 6: A Philosophy of Physics  

Gilles Deleuze & Felix Guattari, What is Philosophy?

Karen Barad, “Quantum Entanglements and Hauntological Relations of Inheritance: Dis/continuities, SpaceTime Enfoldings, and Justice-to-Come”

Week 7: A Philosophy of Mathematics

Alain Badiou, Number and Numbers

Paul Benacerraf, “God, The Devil and Gödel”

Calvin Warren, “The Catastrophe: Black Feminist Poethics, (Anti)form, and Mathematical Nihilism”

Week 8: A Philosophy of Energy and Virtual Reality

Manuel Delanda, Intensive Science and Virtual Philosophy

Manuel Delanda, “The Philosophy of Energy”

Week 9: After Finitude, After Value

Quentin Meillassoux, After Finitude

Quentin Meillassoux, “Time Without Becoming”

Denise Ferreira Da Silva, “Fractal Thinking”

Week 10: Nihil Unbound in a Blackened World

Ray Brassier, Nihil Unbound

Eugene Thacker, “After Life”

Francois Laurelle, “On The Black Universe In the Human Foundations of Color”

3 thoughts on “Reimagining Science Syllabus

  1. if you follow Andrew Pickering’s suggestion to think in terms of performativity vs representation then you can teach them along the lines of the homo rhetoricus of neo-pragmatist hermeneutics, if you don’t like folks like Rorty or Frankenberry maybe Isabelle Stengers would appeal, thanks for the Saidiya Hartman Venus pdf, peace, dirk


      1. by my reading Isabelle and Andy are both pragmatists, be interested in what you make of Rorty’s Irony book especially his take on Freud as I see you traffic in the spectres of psychoanalysis, the names/brands (Nancy Frankenberry by the way) aren’t as important as the recognition that texts are tools and meanings made in uses, once you make that move the academic silos don’t keep one from adding content to reading lists on syllabi:

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s