How do scientists know if current scientific theories are true? Is science progressive? Can science and pseudoscience be distinguished?
Philosophy of Science 1
How are sciences distinguished from one another? These questions will be discussed in the light of examples from science. During the course of discussing these problems, you will study some of the major positions that have been taken about scientific knowledge both in the history of philosophy and in the 20th century: Inductivism (Bacon), Logical Empiricism (Ayer and Quine), Falsificationism (Popper), Incommensurability (Kuhn) and Relativism (Feyerabend). What does it mean if more than two theories are consistent with the evidence (Quine/Duhem)?
To teach students the basic foundational thinkers and topics in philosophy of science, which will provide the bedrock for more advanced courses in Years 2 and 3. To provide students with a critical awareness of the core foundational topics in the philosophy of science.
- Students will be able to evaluate the key philosophical accounts of many core topics in the philosophy of science, including epistemology of science and metaphysics of science.
- Students will be able to write philosophically cohesive essays, where philosophical theories are explained and arguments for them critically evaluated.
- Students will be able to discuss philosophical arguments systematically and present these to their peers.