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Unit information: History of Science in 2015/16

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Unit name History of Science
Unit code PHILM0007
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Pyle
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Philosophy
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

This unit would concentrate on two or three of the scientific revolutions. The case studies will be selected from among (1) the Copernican revolution, (2) Lavoisier and the discovery of oxygen, (3) the emergence of Darwinism, (4) electromagnetism and the aether, and Einstein's relativity, and (5) the birth of quantum mechanics.

The MA seminar unit for the History of Science unit consists of an in-depth study of one of three Scientific Revolutions (those associated with the names of Copernicus, Lavoisier, and Darwin), chosen by the students each year. We read our way through a considerable volume of primary source materials, with a view to gaining a fuller understanding of the dynamics of a particular revolution in science. After the sustained immersion in the primary sources, we are better able to judge the accuracy of fit between the historical facts and the philosophical stories told by Kuhn and his critics.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students should:

  1. Have acquired knowledge and understanding of various core issues and debates concerning the history of medicine,
  2. Be able to construct and analyze sophisticated philosophical arguments and engage with other philosophers in constructive debate. Be able to do independent research. Be able to communicate ideas clearly and effectively to an audience.

Teaching Information

Lectures, seminars, and essay tutorials where necessary.

Assessment Information

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

Reading and References

Kuhn, T., Structure of Scientific Revolutions.