Philosophy of Science (PHIL*2180)
Term: Fall 2013
In this course we will survey a number of the central issues that arise from a philosophical study of the natural sciences. In the first part of the course we will look at the logical positivist model of science and scientific theories and at some associated concerns, e.g. the observation/theoretical distinction and the problem of underdetermination. After that we will read Thomas Kuhn's landmark work The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962). The last third of the course will be devoted to some of the issues that have preoccupied philosophers of science since the initial publication of Kuhn's book, including social constructivism and the realism/anti-realism debate. In part of the course we will read the biologist Richard Lewontin's Biology As Ideology (1991). Throughout the course we will look for answers to the following questions: what is the nature of science? Is there a scientific method? Are the sciences rational? Do the entities contained in scientific theories, such as genes and electronics, really exist? And what role does gender play in science?
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