This course introduces the core issues in the philosophy of science, in particular the debates about the nature of the scientific method, theories of confirmation, the demarcation of science from non-science, the rationality of theory change, and scientific realism. Participants will be introduced to the key thinkers in philosophy of science.
The philosophy of science concerns the nature of science and what makes it distinctive among forms of human inquiry. The problem of distinguishing genuine science from disciplines or activities that do not deserve to be called scientific is closely linked to the problem of precisely characterising the scientific method.
This course provides an introduction to this subject beginning with the origins of modern science in the Scientific Revolution in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and concluding with an introduction to the latest controversies among contemporary philosophers of science including the debate about the various forms of scientific realism. Along the way students will gain an appreciation for the importance of philosophy of science in the history of philosophy and an understanding of the ideas of the most famous names in the subject such as Bacon, Popper, Kuhn and Lakatos.
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