This course addresses a range of philosophical problems raised by scientific knowledge and explanation. The problems examined fall into roughly two kinds: one about the methods of science, and the other a philosophical consideration of how science explains our world. Problems of the first kind include the justification of scientific inferences, the connection between observation and theory, and how to understand progress in science. Problems of the second kind include puzzles about explanation, causation, and probability.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:Upon successful completion of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- identify philosophical issues about the methods of science;
- understand and explain puzzles about what science describes and seeks to explain;
- evaluate some rival theories about scientific method and the metaphysics of science;
- understand arguments for and against contentious views in the philosophy of science; and
- articulate positions and arguments in discussions.
Indicative AssessmentEssay, 1000 words (20%) Learning outcomes 1, 3, 4
Assignment, 1000 words (20%) Learning outcomes 2, 3
Essay, 2000 words (50%) Learning outcomes 2, 3, 4
Tutorial participation (10%) Learning outcomes 1-5
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Workload130 hours of total student learning time made up from:
a) 36 hours of contact over 12 weeks: 24 hours of lectures and 12 hours of tutorials; and
b) 94 hours of independent student research, reading, and writing.
Requisite and Incompatibility
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