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

Postgraduate Course: Philosophy of Science (Online) (PHIL11133)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
Course typeOnline Distance Learning AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course aims to introduce you to a number of perennially-interesting and enduringly relevant issues from the philosophy of science. No previous scientific, philosophical or logical expertise is required and any technical / unfamiliar terms will be defined as we go.

Please note auditing is not allowed on this course. Students must only take for credit.
Course description Key questions will include:

- What is the problem of induction, chiefly associated with Hume?
- Does the problem of induction present a challenge to scientific rationality?
- What is Popper's falsificationism all about?
- Did Popper solve the problem of induction and thereby provide a successful theory of scientific method?
- What is scientific explanation? Which accounts of explanation are best?
- What is distinctive about explanations in the biological sciences?
- What is scientific measurement? Which accounts of measurement are best?
- How should we conceive of probability? What is Bayes' Theorem and what can it tell us about the confirmation of theories?
- What are scientific realism and scientific anti-realism? What arguments can be made for or against realist and anti-realist views of science?
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2019/20, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 2
Course Start Date 13/01/2020
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 22, 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) Students will be assessed by a 2500 word essay (85%) and successful participation in on-line activities associated with the course (15%). How the participation component will be assessed will be made clear to the students at the start of the course.

Word limit: 2500 maximum (excluding references)
Feedback Students have the opportunity to submit a formative essay. The essay cannot be draft of the summative essay but it can be on the same topic.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. grasp fundamental issues in the philosophy of philosophy of science, e.g. the problem of induction, falsificationism, theories of explanation, Bayesianism and probability, scientific realism and anti-realism.
  2. critically analyse and engage with literature by key philosophers in this field.
  3. understand how empirical and scientific work can support philosophical arguments, and be able to use data derived therefrom in their essays and arguments.
  4. present arguments clearly and concisely both within a classroom context and in a 2,500 word essay.
  5. gain transferable skills in research, analysis and argumentation
Reading List
Available through Talis aspire
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Students can develop their ability for independent learning through online resources.
Additional Class Delivery Information Priority for this course will be given to online Epistemology, Ethics and Mind students. Students on any other programme must obtain permission to enrol from the Programme Director.
KeywordsPhilosophy of science; epistemology
Course organiserDr James Collin
Course secretaryMs Becky Verdon
Tel: (0131 6)50 3860
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