Philosophy of Science

PHIL-317

The goal of the course 'Philosophy of Science' is to introduce students to many of the underlying assumptions, conceptual foundations, and implications of science as a distinctive approach to understanding the world. There is much contemporary debate on the different methodologies and types of reasoning used in science, and the extent to which science provides 'objective' knowledge of the 'real' world. Some of the specific themes the class will address are as follows: the presuppositions of scientific reasoning, the nature of scientific explanation, the problems of reductionism, induction and scientific realism, the question of how science progresses, the social character of science and whether science has any obligations to larger society. We will explore these themes both in a general way as well as through the lens of particular disciplines. For example: biology and the evolution/intelligent design debate, cognitive psychology and the nature of consciousness debate, physics (quantum mechanics) and the nature of reality debate, and astronomy/cosmology on the big bang and the question of 'fine-tuning.' The aim of the course is to show students that although science is clearly seen as separable from philosophy, deep philosophical assumptions continue to shape the character of scientific investigation in virtually all its manifestations. PMI

Credits: 

3

Department: 

History and Philosophy