Philosophy 133
Professor Stemwedel
Spring 2018

Reading response questions

1.       Asquith notes that Western primatologists have usually refrained from "provisioning" (feeding) the animals they study on the grounds that doing so would interfere with normal primate behavior.  However, she asserts, "To put it simply, the Japanese methodology allowed them to 'see more' of primate behavior and its proximate causes." (p. 253) 

Briefly describe the Western and Japanese approaches to "provisioning" the primates being studied. What are the potential advantages and disadvantages of each of these competing methodological approaches?  In what sense does each of the two approaches produce "better knowledge" (i.e., how do these two approaches depend on different understandings of what counts as objective knowledge)?  (Due Thur., Mar. 1)

2.     Explain how, according to Traweek, foreign physicists in the AMY group at KEK took advantage of being bachigai ("out of place") within the community of Japanese physics to put forward controversial data.  What were their goals in presenting the data in the forum they selected? What kinds of authority (or perceived lack of authority) did they take for granted in coming up with this strategy? More generally, what does this episode show about relations between physicists, both within Japan and within the larger international community of physics?  (Due Thur., Apr. 19)

3.     What should Cantor have done in response to the anonymous note (p. 93) and why?  In particular, explain how the course of action you propose addresses both Cantor's interests as a scientist and Jerry's interests as Cantor's mentee. (In answering these questions, of course, you will have to spell out Cantor's interests as a scientist and Jerry's interests as Cantor's mentee.)  (Due Thur., May 3)


Reading response guidelines


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