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PH61D — Advanced Philosophy of Science

Course Objectives

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Students taking this course will be expected to:

  1. Acquire an overview of debates on method, the status of theories, the nature of explanation and laws, and concepts of probability.
  2. Critically engage with texts by some key authors in philosophy of science in the last century.
  3. Acquire a more detailed understanding of some particular debates within the listed areas.
  4. Develop their ability to think independently about philosophical problems by critically assessing arguments in these areas.
  5. Acquire an overview of debates on realism and reductionism, confirmation, explanation, laws and scientific progress, and be introduced to some issues in the philosophy of physics.

Course Outline

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An introduction to the nature, extent and significance of scientific knowledge. Problems about the nature of scientific theories, scientific methodologies, theory-observation gap and models, scientific explanation, pragmatics of explanation and prediction, underdetermination of theory by data, necessity, incommensurability, reductionism, probabilism, scientific growth, and issues about the relationship between science, religion and morality will be discussed. Various versions of realism in philosophy of science will be discussed. The nature of truth is science and justification in science will be discussed. Is science a metaphysics? How the world is - what does this mean? Is science a product of interest or is science universal? "Open and Closed" predicaments and the Intellectualist Thesis will be discussed. What is scientism? Other issues to be explored include nuclear omnicide, holography, fanaticism, Fascism, procreation choices, religiosity, skepticism, space studies, identity issues, post-modernism, post-structuralism, etc.

Methodology

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Course will be administered by a combination of Seminars and Lectures.

Contact Hours: 3 Hours weekly.

Evaluation

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  • One In-course essay (3,500 to 4,000 words) … … 40%
  • Final two-hour Examination … … 60%
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