20202 Philosophy of Science

Credits: 6 intermediate credits in Philosophy or in Sciences - General

Prerequisites: none

Recommended: Fundamentals of Physics (or Fundamentals of Physics I + Fundamentals of Physics II), or one of the following: General Biology I or Introduction to Life Sciences

Author: Gad Freudenthal

Philosophy of science deals with philosophical questions pertaining to science, particularly natural science. The philosopher accepts science and its arguments as “given” and poses questions about science, looking at science “from the outside.” Thus, the philosopher is concerned with meta-science. The course deals with questions concerning the development of scientific theories, as well as foundational issues such as the nature of scientific laws, scientific explanation, the distinction between science and non-science, theory change in science, and the nature of scientific revolutions. It focuses on two books: Philosophy of Natural Science by Carl G. Hempel and The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas S. Kuhn.

The course is intended primarily for students studying physics, chemistry, and biology who are interested in expanding their horizons and viewing the discipline they study from a more comprehensive and general perspective. In addition, philosophical questions concerning the nature of science are directly relevant to questions of methods of teaching science, so that teachers may be interested in this course.

Topics: Analytical philosophy of science; Carl Popper’s philosophy of science; The Copernican revolution – a historical example of a scientific revolution; Thomas Kuhn’s philosophy of science; Continental philosophy of science (optional).