Unit 24: Harvey and Circulation
- History Web Lecture: The story of William Harvey emphasizes issues raised in the last unit. In particular, we see how non-scientific objections (to Harvey's political affiliation with an unpopular king) affect the acceptance of his theories. In Harvey's case, two other factors are operating as well: he has no observational proof for the connection between the veins and arteries (since he did not have access to an adequate microscope), and he uses a set of principles from one science (the concepts of pump action from mechanics) to analyze by analogy a set of phenomena in another science (the way the heart pumps blood is biology). This violates to some extent the Aristotelian division of knowledge into compartments according to not only subject matter but the methods used to investigate and teach different topics. This division was basic to the operation of the Universities (and still operates today in establishing what is and is not an acceptable argument of proof—just think about the evidence a social science like anthropology will accept in contrast to the evidence required to establish a theory in math or physics). Students need to grasp this problem, because we will see it emerge again in the debate over the Copernican theory.
- Science Web Lecture: As with the previous week's reading, we are here trying to learn the "grammar" of the human body by looking at its parts and their functions. To some extent, I am relying on the student's previous experience, because usually by this level they have done some human anatomy or health course material. If your student has not had a junior high level human biology survey course, then much of this material will be new, and he will need more help drilling on the basics. If you have already covered this and the student is comfortable with it, encourage him to do some further investigation of one of the systems, and to compare how it functions with other body systems. Many use the same kind of technique (such as transporting molecules across membrane surfaces) to accomplish different tasks.
- Homework: The science questions provide a certain amount of drill in the different body systems and their functions; however, the drill is not comprehensive. There is a lot of material here—in a normal junior high school course, the last two units would encompass a quarter to a semester's worth of material.
- Discussion: For the history section, we will focus on the types of proofs necessary to convince people of a new theory and the non-scientific factors that can influence acceptance. For the human body material, we will look at the students' questions about individual systems, and emphasize common structures and functions.
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