Philosophy of Science - PHI00080I

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  • Department: Philosophy
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Daniel Morgan
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: I
  • Academic year of delivery: 2019-20

Module summary

The module is an advanced introduction to several key topics and issues in contemporary philosophy of science. In this module, we examine a range of important and connected topics, i.e., the scientific method and the rationality of induction, the nature and status of evidence (from an epistemic point of view), scientific realism and its rivals (e.g., instrumentalism), as well as views about explanation, causation, the laws of nature, determinism and indeterminism, and theory choice (by examining the literature on theoretical virtues).

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Spring Term 2019-20 to Summer Term 2019-20

Module aims

Subject Content

To introduce several key themes in contemporary philosophy of science.

Academic and Graduate Skills

The module develops students’ abilities to apply philosophical methods to debates in other disciplines, to understand better the nature and limits of scientific knowledge, and to grasp the kind of foundational questions that arise in the natural sciences.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students should be able to:

—understand and explain a range of key problems, issues, and debates in the philosophy of science and express this understanding in clear, precise, and accessible terms

—develop and articulate ranges of alternative solutions to problems and issues in the philosophy of science in an open-minded way, drawing on module materials

—develop and articulate arguments for the alternative solutions considered in relation to problems and issues in the philosophy of science, drawing on module materials, identifying some points of weakness and some potential points for development

—make a judgement about what is the best view on a particular problem in the philosophy of science and argue in defence of this judgement

—identify some of their strengths and weaknesses by evaluating their own work in relation to departmental marking criteria

—apply simple strategies for improving their work, based on critical reflection, advice, and feedback

Module content

The module is an advanced introduction to several key topics and issues in contemporary philosophy of science. In this module, we examine a range of important and connected topics, i.e., the scientific method and the rationality of induction, the nature and status of evidence (from an epistemic point of view), scientific realism and its rivals (e.g., instrumentalism), as well as views about explanation, causation, the laws of nature, determinism and indeterminism, and theory choice (by examining the literature on theoretical virtues).

Assessment

Task Length % of module mark
Essay/coursework
Essay
N/A 70
University - closed examination
Philosophy of Science
1 hours 30

Special assessment rules

None

Additional assessment information

The formative assessment will comprise a 750-word critical summary of a journal article of book chapter which will be due in Week 7 of the Spring Term.

Reassessment

Task Length % of module mark
Essay/coursework
Essay
N/A 70
University - closed examination
Philosophy of Science
1 hours 30

Module feedback

Feedback on formative work will be returned within 2 weeks of submission, and by the end of term at the latest. Feedback on summative work will be returned within 4 weeks of the assessment deadline.

Indicative reading

Bortolotti, L. (2008). An Introduction to the Philosophy of Science. London: Polity

Godfrey-Smith, P. (2003) Theory and Reality. Chicago: U. Chicago Press.

Ladyman, J. (2002) Understanding Philosophy of Science. London: Routledge



The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.