Current Debates in Philosophy of Science (PHIL*4140) | College of Arts

Current Debates in Philosophy of Science (PHIL*4140)

Code and section: PHIL*4140*01

Term: Winter 2018

Instructor: Andrew Wayne


This course is crosslisted with PHIL*6720

This course surveys the development of our philosophical and scientific understanding of space and time from the ancient Greeks to the present day. We begin with Plato and Euclid. We then focus on the early modern debate about the reality of space in the work of Descartes, Newton, Leibniz, Kant and Berkeley. We look at the revolutionary impact of relationalist (Mach), conventionalist (Poincaré) and relativistic (Einstein) accounts of space and time in the 19th and 20th centuries. We examine two major philosophical critiques of these accounts, one from logical positivism (Reichenbach) and one from phenomenology (Husserl).

Course Outline

The University of Guelph resides on the land of the Between the Lakes Treaty No. 3, the territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit. This land is part of the Dish with One Spoon, a covenant between Indigenous nations to live peaceably on the territories of the Great Lakes region. We recognize that today this gathering place is home to many First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples and acknowledging them reminds us of our collective responsibility to the land where we learn, live and work.