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Regular version of the site
Bachelor 2021/2022

Philosophy and Methodology of Science

Type: Elective course
Area of studies: Economics
When: 2 year, 1, 2 module
Mode of studies: offline
Open to: students of one campus
Instructors: Alexander Koryagin
Language: English
ECTS credits: 3
Contact hours: 60

Course Syllabus

Abstract

The course has no prerequisites. Philosophy and Methodology of the Natural and Social Sciences is a one semester course for second year ICEF students. The course provides a broad introduction to the main themes and issues in the philosophy of science in general and the philosophy of social science in particular. It is principally concerned with the epistemological, logical, metaphysical and ethical underpinnings of scientific methodology. Fundamental philosophical questions are presented with a view to demonstrating how they are relevant to and how they inform scientific inquiry. The course explores topics such as, among others, the possibility of knowledge, the distinctiveness of science, the logic of scientific method, scientific explanation, whether science describes reality or not, whether social science should be based on the methods of natural science, the nature of practical rationality, the place of ethical values in relation to science, and critiques of scientific rationality. All topics are presented as problems and areas of dispute.
Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • 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
Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • 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 assess the possibility of value-neutral science
  • To assess the validity of the analytic-synthetic distinction
  • To assess the validity of the phenomenological critique of solipsism
  • 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 characterise the basic approaches to the evolutionary explanation of rationality and emotion
  • To characterise the difference between foundationalism and anti-foundationalism
  • To characterise the logic of the evolutionary explanation: proximate (synchronic) and ultimate (diachronic) causation.
  • To characterise the problem of holism about testing and of the theory-ladenness of observation
  • 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
  • To characterize the hypothetico-deductive method
  • To conceptualise philosophy of science as a separate discipline in its own right, to define its objectives and basic methods.
  • To define the verifiability and the falsifiability criterion of meaning
  • To discuss various approaches to the definition of science and the problem of the demarcation of science from non-science
  • To distinguish between context of discovery and context of justification
  • To distinguish between mechanistic and teleological forms of explanation
  • To distinguish between Positivist and Interpretivist approaches
  • To explain the difference between the rationalist, empiricist and constructivist approaches to epistemology
Course Contents

Course Contents

  • Epistemological Foundations of the Scientific Methodology
  • Theorising human action
  • The limits of scientific rationality
Assessment Elements

Assessment Elements

  • non-blocking Seminar participation (including written assignments)
  • non-blocking Individual project
    Individual project (essay and oral presentation)
  • non-blocking Final exam
    Online format
  • non-blocking Midterm exam
  • non-blocking Class presentations
    Two class presentations 20% (10% each), Individual project (essay and oral presentation) 20%
Interim Assessment

Interim Assessment

  • 2021/2022 2nd module
    0.25 * Final exam + 0.2 * Class presentations + 0.2 * Individual project + 0.15 * Midterm exam + 0.2 * Seminar participation (including written assignments)
Bibliography

Bibliography

Recommended Core Bibliography

  • 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

Recommended Additional Bibliography

  • 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