UCL Department of Science and Technology Studies




The philosophy behind my approach to teaching

I always considered teaching as one of the most powerful instruments of research and as one of the ways in which philosophy can be placed at the service of real life. My didactic methodology hinges on three fundamental principles: community, interdisciplinarity and pluralism, which will hopefully help you think critically, argue honestly and engage with viewpoints which are different from your own.

Current teaching:

HPSC 1003 – Philosophy of Science

I have been teaching intermediate and advanced modules in philosophy of science since the early days of my PhD. These modules are open to STS students as well as students outside the department. What I find exciting about these courses is that they tackle really fundamental questions about science, its authority and its methods. They are the best way to connect my research and interdisciplinary identity to teaching, and every single year I learn something new from my students.

Sir Humphry Davy, Chlorinator and Electrifier

Science, Art and Philosophy (offered at undergraduate and master level)

This popular module revolves around various aspects of my research, and complements it in exciting ways. The course explores the interactions between science and art from the mid-nineteenth century to the present. Its philosophical focus is the notion of “representation”, conceived as a crucial common link between scientific and artistic visual practices. The course is project-based: students choose a research topic, they investigate it in depth, and produce a piece of writing in the style of an academic article (undergraduate) or a professional catalogue entry (master).

Research Methods

Can you think of anything worse than having a philosopher contributing to a module on research methods? And yet it happens. I co-teach research methods with colleagues working in the area of social studies of science, and it is great fun, especially when we get to read Paul Feyerabend’s iconoclastic ideas about “the scientific method”.

Past pedagogical experiments:

HPSC 3007 – Topics in the History of the Physical Sciences (no longer running)

This was an advanced and highly engaging course, in which students were asked to do some historical and philosophical research at an advanced academic level. It gave them a taste of what it is like to be a professional researcher. I inherited this course from Prof. Hasok Chang’s successful didactic experiment, and taught it for four years. I still totally subscribe to the philosophy behind it, which has now converged into my current modules.