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

Postgraduate Course: Philosophy of Science MSc (PHIL11141)

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) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe aim of this course is to provide a suitably advanced introduction to the Philosophy of Science for MSc students with an interest in the subject area. The course is core to the MSc specialisation in Philosophy of Science. Students will be exposed to a wide range of topics of contemporary interest in the philosophy of science at an advanced level.

This course will be shared with the undergraduate course Philosophy of Science (PHIL10149).

For courses co-taught with undergraduate students and with no remaining undergraduate spaces left, a maximum of 8 MSc students can join the course. Priority will be given to MSc students who wish to take the course for credit on a first come first served basis after matriculation.
Course description Each week we will address a different, central topic in the Philosophy of Science: induction and deduction, confirmation theory, scientific progress, scientific problems, theory choice, underdetermination of theory by evidence, laws of nature, explanation, causation, and abduction. Readings will include research articles and excerpts from influential texts. The class sessions will include both lectures by the instructor and a discussion component. Each student will develop a philosophical argument on one of the topics and write a short essay, due at the end of the semester, which will serve as the course assessment.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Possess a well-rounded understanding of central issues in Philosophy of Science.
  2. Improve his or her critical skills through in-depth textual analysis and written argumentation.
Reading List
Carnap, Rudolf (1945). 'The Two Concepts of Probability: The Problem of Probability'. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 5: 513-532.
Cartwright, Nancy (1983). How the Laws of Physics Lie. Oxford University Press
Duhem, Pierre (1954 [1914]). The Aim and Structure of Physical Theory. Princeton University Press
van Fraassen, Bas (1980). The Scientific Image. Oxford University Press.
Goodman, Nelson (1983). Fact, Fiction, and Forecast. Harvard University Press.
Hempel, Carl (2001). The philosophy of Carl G. Hempel. Oxford University Press.
Kuhn, Thomas (2012 [1962]). The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. University of Chicago Press.
Lakatos, Imre (1970). 'Falsification and the Methodology of Scientific Research Programmes'. In I. Lakatos and A. Musgrave (Eds.), Criticism and the Growth of Knowledge. Cambridge University Press 91-195.
Laudan, Larry (1978). Progress and Its Problems. University of California Press.
Lewis, David (1973). Counterfactuals. Blackwell.
Lipton, Peter (2004). Inference to the Best Explanation (2nd Ed.). Routledge.
Popper, Karl (2005 [1935]). The Logic of Scientific Discovery. Routledge.
Quine, W.V.O. (1951) 'Two Dogmas of Empiricism'. Philosophical Review 60: 20-43.
Reichenbach, Hans (1938). Experience and Prediction. University of Chicago Press.
Stanford, Kyle (2006). Exceeding Our Grasp. Oxford University Press
Woodward, James (2003). Making Things Happen. Oxford University Press.
Additional Information
Course URL See Learn course page
Graduate Attributes and Skills 1. Critical thinking
2. Articulating reasons pro and con
3. Effective writing
KeywordsPhilosophy of science
Course organiserDr Casey McCoy
Tel: (0131 6)50 3484
Course secretaryMs Becky Verdon
Tel: (0131 6)50 3860
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