My Favorite Class: Philosophy of Science

Madison inside Business Building

This story is a part of the “My Favorite Class” series.

Madison Dautle is a junior Bioinformatics major. She is from Cherry Hill, NJ (Camden County) and transferred from Stockton University.

What was the name of your favorite class at Rowan? 

Philosophy of Science

What department was the class in? 

Philosophy (PHIL)

Who taught the class when you took it? 

Dr. Nathan Bauer

Madison outside on the bridge

Tell us a little about what the class is.

Most people assume that science is constantly progressing to explain the true nature of the universe. To explain what it is we see. This class teaches you that isn’t necessarily true. It opens up your eyes to assumptions you hold as a scientist that you probably didn’t even know you were assuming.

Share with us a few details on why this class was interesting or special to you.

This class finally made me think. Sure, I’m good at explaining chemistry and biology, but that doesn’t make you think, or at least not in the same way. That class made me think in ways I never had to before, and it was exciting!

It’s funny to be able to believe something yet not have a fully thought out reasoning for why. Like one hypothesis referred to as the Grue hypothesis. This idea states that all emeralds are green until a certain date when they all suddenly turn blue. Seems silly, right? That can’t possibly be true, but until the date passes, it can’t be proved false. Yet we all believe that the emeralds will stay green when that hypothesis has a 0% chance of occuring. Look it up. It’s really interesting. My brain hates it but also loves it because I want to know why we believe that.

Madison outside Business Building

Is there anything else that made this class impactful?

The way Professor Bauer ran the class. He really made it easy to follow while still making us think. He asked for student input and gave us the opportunity at the end of the semester to present one of our own ideas as a group. I still think about that class daily, and it’s been a while since I’ve taken it.

What makes this professor great? 

He’s engaging. Quirky. Kind of what you’d expect from a philosophy professor, but you can tell he loves it. Sometimes you’ll ask a question and he’ll become confused because he didn’t think of that, but he just tells you to go write it down because it’s a good idea. He supports a learning environment and gives adequate room to grow.

Madison sitting on a rock

How did this class help to support your academic or personal growth, or your professional goals? 

To be honest, I thought I would hate this class. Turns out it was the best possible thing that could have happened to me. I finally have something to really THINK about. I am thinking about things that can’t be reconciled by a Google search or even a bit of heavier research. The answers for these questions aren’t written down because no one has truly figured them out yet. Academically and professionally, it can help just broaden my horizons. But personally, it entertained my brain.

I’m lucky that I don’t struggle with understanding most teachable concepts, but with this class, the more he taught, the more questions I had. A really amazing class.

What are your professional goals? 

I would like to perform genomics research using bioinformatics. Currently, I am interested in long-term memory — what genes, and in what concentrations, are expressed during memory recall and consolidation.

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Story by:
Caitlyn Dickinson, senior public relations and advertising major

Photos by:
Joe Gentempo, senior art major

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