Philosophy and Methodology of Science
- provide an introduction to the principal questions explored by the philosophy of science and social science
- cultivate in students a critical awareness of the assumptions and conditions that lie behind scientific theories and arguments
- contribute to the development of the students’ faculty of autonomous critical reasoning rather than the robotic repetition of given information
- To conceptualise philosophy of science as a separate discipline in its own right, to define its objectives and basic methods.
- To discuss various approaches to the definition of science and the problem of the demarcation of science from non-science
- To explain the difference between the rationalist, empiricist and constructivist approaches to epistemology
- To define the verifiability and the falsifiability criterion of meaning
- To distinguish between context of discovery and context of justification
- To characterize the hypothetico-deductive method
- To characterise the difference between foundationalism and anti-foundationalism
- To assess the validity of the analytic-synthetic distinction
- To characterise the problem of holism about testing and of the theory-ladenness of observation
- To distinguish between Positivist and Interpretivist approaches
- To assess the validity of the phenomenological critique of solipsism
- To distinguish between mechanistic and teleological forms of explanation
- To characterise the logic of the evolutionary explanation: proximate (synchronic) and ultimate (diachronic) causation.
- To characterise the basic approaches to the evolutionary explanation of rationality and emotion
- To characterise Foucault’s view on the sovereign, disciplinary and bio-power; the connection between power and knowledge, and assess the problem of science as a potential vehicles of social power.
- To assess the possibility of value-neutral science
- To assess the basic challenges to the orthodox view of philosophy of science, e.g. the problem of logocentrism, meta-narratives and incommensurable language-games.
- To characterize the approaches to the naturalistic accounts of human nature and behavior, including the problem of free will and the hard problem of consciousness
- The limits of scientific rationalityPower, knowledge and the self The limits of scientific rationality Consciousness and free will
- Epistemological Foundations of the Scientific MethodologyWhat is the philosophy of science Foundations of modern epistemology Logical positivism and Popper’s falsificationism Quine and Kuhn on anti-foundationalism
- Theorising human actionPhenomenology, hermeneutics and psychoanalysis Evolutionary and functional explanations in the social sciences Rational agency
- Seminar participation (including written assignments)
- EssayIndividual project (essay and oral presentation) 20%
- Final exam
- Midterm exam
- Class presentationsTwo class presentations 20% (10% each), Individual project (essay and oral presentation) 20%
- Interim assessment (2 module)0.2 * Class presentations + 0.2 * Essay + 0.25 * Final exam + 0.15 * Midterm exam + 0.2 * Seminar participation (including written assignments)
- Godfrey-Smith, P. (2003). Theory and Reality : An Introduction to the Philosophy of Science. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=324622
- Psillos, S. (2007). Philosophy of Science A-Z. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=194151