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An Invitation to Philosophy of Science


 

 

Days: Monday-11.00am to 1.00pm and Friday 4.00pm – 6.00pm

 

Outline of the course:

The course will begin with an introduction to epistemology followed by a discussion on the possible criteria of demarcation between science and folklore (common knowledge), non-science, and metaphysics. This will be followed by an introduction to logical positivism, and what is normally called the 'standard view'. A criticism of the standard view will be covered in detail.

 

The cognitive objective of the course is: after the end of the course the student would have understood how to distinguish between theory, hypotheses, laws, phenomena, models, and physical systems; develop an appreciation of axiomatic structure of scientific theories; understand what happens to the structure of a scienfitic theory when conceptual

change takes place; the various criteria of demarcating science from other modes of pursuit; implications of nature of science debate on science education. The course structure would be woven around episodes  from history of science, which would highlight an issue in History and  Philosophy of Science.

 

There will be two classes of 120 minutes each per week. Evaluation will be regular (presentations and participation in the discussions); and questions will be posted periodically at the course website, and students are expected to upload the answers on the site.  At the end of the course, each student will give a seminar and write a term paper

on the subject of the seminar.  One of the objectives of the course is also to train students to compose papers and cogent answers according to the rules of the game (review, proper citations, research, discussion, argument, conclusion ...).

A course website will be available for students to access resources, questions, submit write-ups and discuss.

 

The students are also expected to associate the above ideas with the following leading philosophers of science: Carnap, Russell, Fred

Suppe, Karl Popper, Thomas Kuhn,

van Frassen, Ian Hacking, Larry Laudan, Philip Kitcher, Ronald Geire,

Ernst Nagel, Mary Hesse, Nancy Cartwright, Paul Thagard, etc.

 

Suggested Readings:

 

Philosophy of Science - A Very Short Introduction

Samir Okasha

Oxford University Press - 2002

 

The Golem - What Everyone should Know about Science

Harry Collins, Trevor Pinch

Cambridge University Press - 1996

 

What is this thing called science?

Alan Chalmers

Hackett 1999


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