Department of Political Science


POLS0033 Philosophy, Values and the Social Sciences

Course Code: POLS0033

Course Tutor: Dr Helen Brown-Coverdale (Department of Political Science)

Length: One term (Spring Term)

Teaching: 20 contact hours

Assessment: One three hour exam (100%)

Credits: 15 credits, 4 (US) 7.5 (ECTS) 

Module Level: L5 (Intermediate)

philosophy of social science; values; science and democracy; ethics 

About this course

This module examines the interplay between values and social sciences. It asks both how the social sciences are or should be influenced by values and how moral or political philosophy should incorporate the findings of the social sciences. The course has two overall aims: first, to encourage critical reflection on the methodology of the social sciences and, second, to explore the relationship between normative philosophy and the social sciences.

This module will address questions including: Are the social sciences inevitably more value-laden than the natural sciences? Should citizens decide what gets researched? Can there be moral reasons for social scientists to refrain from researching particular topics or communicating their results? What can and should moral and political philosophy learn from the social sciences? What should the relation between political philosophy and political science be like?