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Unit information: Scientific Epistemology and Methodology in 2015/16

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Unit name Scientific Epistemology and Methodology
Unit code PHILM0004
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Grose
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Philosophy
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

This unit covers topics such as inference to the best explanation, realism and instrumentalism, Bayesianism and confirmation theory, the nature of scientific theories, theory-choice and underdetermination.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students should:

  1. Have knowledge and understanding of the principles of scientific methodology and core topics in the philosophy of science (allowing them to understand some of the general foundational and methodological problems in contemporary sciences such as biology and psychology).
  2. Be able to construct and analyze sophisticated philosophical arguments, and engage with other philosophers in constructive debate.
  3. Be able to Conduct independent research into a new topic, using online and library resources, Analyze and understand difficult philosophical texts, communicate ideas clearly and effectively to an audience, and write clear academic prose.

Teaching Information

Lectures, seminars, and essay tutorials where necessary.

Assessment Information

Assessment: One essay of 5,000-6,000 words (excluding notes and bibliography)

Reading and References

  • Bird, A. (1998), Philosophy of Science, London & New York: Routledge.
  • Chalmers, A. (1978), What is this thing called Science?, Berkshire, Open University Press.
  • Godfrey-Smith, P. (2003) Theory and Reality, University of Chicago Press.
  • Hempel, C. (1966), Philosophy of Natural Science, Prentice Hall.
  • Ladyman, J. (2002), Understanding Philosophy of Science, London, Routledge.
  • Psillos, S. (2002), Causation & Explanation, Chesham, Acumen.