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

Undergraduate Course: Science, Nature, and Social Values (PHIL10171)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe course, consisting of lectures and seminars, addresses some central issues in contemporary philosophy of science. How does science represent nature? And to what extent do social values and human interests enter into the scientific image? Looking at the debate on natural kinds (across the physical, life and social sciences), but also at long-standing controversies on the nature of causation and laws of nature, this course explores the extent to which scientific investigation of nature might (or might not) be shaped by us as human agents with specific values and interests.
Course description Scientific research always rests on a conception of the natural world, and these have changed throughout the history of science, being influenced by human cultures, economic conditions, and values. In this course we will examine a range ideas of nature that have been influential in the history of science and have been presented and debated by philosophers. We will consider both the ethical and aesthetic values that have shaped scientific ideas of nature, and the way that philosophers┬┐ reflections on science have contributed to debates around values and the natural world. Though the focus of this course is historical, it has much relevance to current environmental concerns.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites It is RECOMMENDED that students have passed Philosophy of Science 1 (PHIL08005)
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 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  0
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 32, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 164 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Midterm essay 40% 1500 words
Final essay 60% 2500 words
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate knowledge of central debates in philosophy of science
  2. Learn and understand relevant scientific topics
  3. Articulate reasons for defending or rejecting specific philosophical views
  4. Acquire the ability to bring scientific topics to bear on philosophical views
  5. Improve skills in writing (esp. clarity and originality) and argumentation
Reading List
Canguilhem, G. (1989) The Normal and the Pathological. Zone Books.Daston, L. (2019) Against Nature MIT PressHadot, Pierre. 2006. The Veil of Isis: An essay on the history of the idea of nature. Translated by Michael Chase. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Mazviita Chirimuuta
Course secretary
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