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Contemporary Philosophy of Science

Outline of the course:


    Logical Positivism as a form of empiricism : Philosophical background - The British empiricists from Locke to Mill. The Empiricist Criterion of Meaning,, Basics of propositional and predicate logic, notion of a formal language. (2 lectures - KS)

    The downfall of Logical Positivism, Realism and (Kuhnian) world-view philosophy of science as alternative, Suppe's assessment of 1977. (2lectures - KS)

    Realism : Positions and issues - Putnam, McMullin, Shapere, Boyd - (3lectures - KS)

    A new version of empiricism - Van Fraasen. (2 lectures - GN)

    Reduction and Reductionism in science. Case studies from biology (2lectures - GN)

    The role of experiments in science - A realist view - Ian Hacking. (1lecture - KS)

    Sociological studies of science - Merton, Kuhn, the `strong program',Latour, Steve Fuller. (4 lectures - KS)

    Total : 16 lectures

    The lectures will be held on thursdays from 11-30 am to 1-30 pm. Venue:HBCSE, Room 222. The lectures will start from 7th September, 1995 and end on 4th Jan 1996. Exceptions, i.e., lectures not falling on Thursdays are listed below :

    26th Oct. (Thursday): No lecture. Break for Diwali.

    7th Dec. (Thursday): No lecture. Lecture will be held instead on 5th Dec. Tuesday

    14th Dec (Thursday): No lecture. Break for Cognitive Science conference.


    L 1 - 7/9/95 - (Positivism)

    Hacking, I. (1983) Representing and Intervening :Introductory Topics in the Philosophy of science,

    Hesse, Mary, (1987) `Ayer and the Philosophy of Science' in Gower, Barry (ed.) Logical Positivism in Perspective, London, Croom Helm.

    Popper, K.R. `Mach as a precursor of Einstein' in Conjectures and Refutations,

    L 2 - 14/9/95 - (Empiricism and Rationalism)

    L 3 - 21/9/95 - (Verification Principle)

    Suppe, F. (1977) op cit.

    L 4 - 28/9/95 - (Difficulties of the traslatability criteria)

    Suppe, F. (1977) op cit.

    L 5 - 5/10/95 - (Alternatives to the Received View)

    Suppe, F. (1977) op cit.

    L 6 - 12/10/95 - (Realism)

    McMullin, E. (1984) `A case for scientific realism' in J.Leplin (ed.) Scientific Realism

    Laudan, L. (1984) `A confutation of convergent realism' inJ. Leplin (ed.) op cit.

    Hacking, I. (1983) Representing and Intervening

    L 7 - 19/10/95 - (Realism - contd.) Shapere

    McMullin, E.

    L 8 - 2/11/95 - ()
    L 9 - 9/11/95 - ()
    L 10 - 16/11/95 - ()
    L 11 - 23/11/95 - ()

    L 12 - 30/11/95 - (Hacking's Experimental realism)

    Hacking, I. Representing and Intervening, op cit.

    Hacking, I. (1988) `On the stability of the laboratory sciences' in Journal of Philosophy

    L 13 - 5/12/95 - (Sociology of science : Introduction)

    Merton, R. K.

    Bloor, D. `Science, Sociology of', Entry in Kuper and Kuper(ed.) The Social Science Encyclopaedia,

    Brown, J.R. (ed.)

    L 14 - 28/12/95 - (Constructivist Sociology of Science)

    1. Collins, H. and Pinch, T. (1993) The Golem : What everyone should know about science,

    L 15 - 4/1/96 - (Closure in Scientific Practice, Analogy and Innovation in Science)

    Pickering, A. (1990) `Openness and Closure : On the Goals of Scientific Practice' in H. E. Le Grand (ed.)Experimental Inquiries

    Knorr, Karin D. (1980) `The Scientist as Analogical Reasoner : A Critique of the metaphor theory of Innovation' in Knorr, K.D. et al. (eds.) The Social Process of Scientific Inquiry

    L 16 - 11/1/96 - (Latour)

    Latour, Bruno, (1990) `The Force and Reason of Experiment' in H. E. Le Grand (ed.) Experimental Inquiries

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