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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences : Philosophy

Undergraduate Course: Philosophical Issues in Evolution (PHIL10106)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course will offer detailed seminars on key philosophical issues in evolution and evolutionary theory. No background in biology or life-sciences will be assumed, and the course is intended to be accessible to students with a wide range of philosophical interests and aptitudes.
Course description This course surveys major topics in the contemporary philosophy of biology, with a special focus on issues related to evolutionary explanation.

Specific topics covered include:
* The logic of evolutionary explanation
* The debate on the units of selection
* Adaptationism: its claims and counterarguments
* Modeling as a research method in biology and ecology
* The status of laws in biology
* Case study: race. Are racial categories scientifically legitimate biological kinds?
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Knowledge and Reality (PHIL08017) AND Mind, Matter and Language (PHIL08014)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should have at least 3 Philosophy courses at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this). We will only consider University/College level courses.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2017/18, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  0
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 11, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 11, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 174 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) mid-term test (~1,500 words) (40%)
end-of-semester essay of 2,500 words (60%)
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate core skills in philosophy, including the ability to interpret and engage with philosophical texts, to evaluate arguments, and to develop one¿s own critical ideas in response
  2. Demonstrate core skills in philosophy, including the ability to interpret and engage with philosophical texts, to evaluate arguments, and to develop one¿s own critical ideas in response
  3. Understand and articulate the logical structure of evolutionary explanation; identify and discuss critically debates about the targets of evolutionary explanation
  4. Understand and articulate the criteria for a legitimate scientific concept in biology; ability to discuss these criteria critically for the specific example of racial categories
  5. Reflect critically on the relationship between philosophy of biology and broader topics in philosophy of science, such as explanation, laws, and models
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Alistair Isaac
Tel: (0131 6)51 5174
Course secretaryMiss Ann-Marie Cowe
Tel: (0131 6)50 3961
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