History and Philosophy of Science

History and Philosophy of Science

HPSC1000 Bioethics

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: A/Prof Dominic Murphy Session: Semester 1 Classes: Three 1 hour lectures and one 1 hour tutorial per week Prohibitions: HPSC1900 Assessment: Short essays, tutorial work (100%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
Note: This Junior unit of study is highly recommended to Intermediate and Senior Life Sciences students.
Science has given us nearly infinite possibilities for controlling life. Scientists probe the origins of life through research with stem cells and embryos. To unlock the secrets of disease, biomedicine conducts cruel experiments on animals. GM crops are presented as the answer to hunger. Organ transplantation is almost routine. The international traffic in human body parts and tissues is thriving. The concept of brain death makes harvesting organs ethically more acceptable. It may also result in fundamental changes in our ideas about life. Science has provided new ways of controlling and manipulating life and death. As a consequence, difficult ethical questions are raised in increasingly complex cultural and social environments. This course will discuss major issues in the ethics of biology and medicine, from gene modification to Dolly the sheep. This unit will be introductory, but a small number of topical issues will be studied in depth. No scientific background beyond Year 10 level will be assumed.
Textbooks
Course Reader: will be available for sale at the Copy Centre
HPSC1900 Bioethics (Advanced)

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: HPS Staff Session: Semester 1 Classes: Three 1 hour lectures, one 1 hour tutorial per week. Prohibitions: HPSC1000 Assessment: Tutorial work, essays, tutorial participation (100%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
Note: Department permission required for enrolment
The topics covered by HPSC1000 - Bioethics will be treated in more depth, in a special tutorial set aside for Advanced students.
Textbooks
Course Reader
HPSC2100 The Birth of Modern Science

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: A/Prof Ofer Gal Session: Semester 1,Summer Main Classes: Three 1 hour lectures, one 1 hour tutorial per week. Prerequisites: 24 credit points of Junior units of study Prohibitions: HPSC2900 Assessment: 4xquizzes (30%) and 6x100wd questions (30%) and 3x750wd essays (30%) and class participation (10%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
Modern culture is a culture of science and modern science is the outcome of a historical process of 2,500 years. In this course we investigate how traditional knowledge gradually acquired the characteristics of 'science': the social structure, contents, values and methods we are familiar with. We will look at some primary chapters of this process, from antiquity to the end of the seventeenth century, and try to understand their implications to understanding contemporary science in its culture. Special emphasis will be given to the scientific revolution of the seventeenth century, which is often described as the most important period in the history of science and as one of the most vital stages in human intellectual history.
Textbooks
Dear, P (2001). Revolutionizing the Sciences: European Knowledge and Ambitions, 1500-1700. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
HPSC2900 The Birth of Modern Science (Advanced)

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: A/Prof Ofer Gal Session: Semester 1 Classes: Three 1 hour lectures and one 1 hour tutorial per week. Prerequisites: Enrolment in the Talented Student Program or 24 credit points of Junior study with a Distinction average Prohibitions: HPSC2100 Assessment: 2x1500wd essays (45%) and 1x3000 wd essay (45%) and class presentation (10%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
Note: Department permission required for enrolment
The topics covered in 'The Birth of Modern Science' will be covered in more depth, in a special tutorial set aside for advanced students.
Textbooks
Henry, J (2002). The Scientific Revolution and the Origins of Modern Science. Palgrave Macmillan. Course reader
HPSC2101 What Is This Thing Called Science?

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: A/Prof Dominic Murphy Session: Semester 2,Summer Main Classes: Three 1 hour lectures and one 1 hour tutorial per week. Prerequisites: 24 credit points of Junior units of study Prohibitions: HPSC2901, HPSC2001 Assessment: 2x1500 wd essays (50%) and 1x3000 wd essay (50%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
Philosophers of science aim to define what distinguishes creationism from evolutionary theory, or astrology from astronomy. They give reasons why we can believe that today's theories are improvements over those that preceded them and how we know that what we see and do in scientific practice reflects the nature of reality. This course critically examines the most important attempts to define the scientific method, to draw a line dividing science from non-science, and to justify the high status generally accorded to scientific knowledge. The philosophies of science studied include Karl Popper's idea that truly scientific theories are falsifiable, Thomas Kuhn's proposal that science consists of a series of paradigms separated by scientific revolutions; and Feyerabend's anarchist claim that there are no objective criteria by which science can be distinguished from pseudo-science. This unit of study also explores contemporary theories about the nature of science and explores ideas about the nature of the experimental method and concepts such as underdetermination, the nature of scientific explanation, theory confirmation, realism, the role of social values in science, sociological approaches to understanding science, and the nature of scientific change.
Textbooks
Course reader
HPSC2901 What Is This Thing Called Science? (Adv)

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: A/Prof Dominic Murphy Session: Semester 2 Classes: Three 1 hour lectures and one 1 hour tutorial per week. Prerequisites: Enrolment in the Talented Student Program or 24 credit points of Junior study with a Distinction average Prohibitions: HPSC2101, HPSC2100 Assessment: 2x1500 wd essays (45%) and 1x3000 wd essay (45%) and class presentation (10%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
Note: Department permission required for enrolment
The topics covered in 'What is This Thing Called Science?' will be covered in more depth, in a special tutorial set aside for advanced students.
Textbooks
Course reader
HPSC3002 Hist & Phil of the Biomedical Sciences

Credit points: 6 Session: Semester 2 Classes: Two 1 hour lectures and two 1 hour tutorials per week. Prerequisites: (HPSC2100 or HPSC2900) and (HPSC2101 or HPSC2901) Assessment: 2x300-400wd reports (25%) and 1xclass presentation (25%) and class questions (10%) and 1x2500-3000 wd essay (40%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
Throughout the ages people have been born, have died, and in between have lived in various stages of sickness or health. In this unit of study we shall look at how these states of being were perceived in different times and places throughout history, while at the same time noting the increasing medicalisation of everyday life, together with the irony that the "miracles" of modern medicine appear to have created a generation of the "worried well". Using this historical perspective, we shall ask how perceptions of sickness, health and the related provision of health care have been intertwined with social, political and economic factors and, indeed still are today.
Textbooks
Course reader
HPSC3016 The Scientific Revolution

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: A/Prof Ofer Gal Session: Semester 2 Classes: Two 1 hour lectures and two 1 hour tutorials per week. Individual student consultation as required. Prerequisites: (HPSC2100 or HPSC2900) and (HPSC2101 or HPSC2901) Assessment: 10x150wd questions (40%) and 1x 3500wd essay (40%) and 1 x Experiment (10%) and Class Participation (10%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
Modern Western science has a number of characteristics that distinguish it from other scientific cultures. It ascribes its tremendous success to sophisticated experiments and meticulous observation. It understands the universe in terms of tiny particles in motion and the forces between them. It is characterised by high- powered mathematical theorising and the rejection of any intention, value or purpose in Nature. Many of these characteristics were shaped in the 17th century, during the so-called scientific revolution. We will consider them from an integrated historical- philosophical perspective, paying special attention to the intellectual motivations of the canonical figures of this revolution and the cultural context in which they operated. Topics will include: experimentation and instrumentation, clocks, mechanistic philosophy, and the changing role of mathematics.
Textbooks
Course reader
HPSC3023 Psychology & Psychiatry: History & Phil

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: A/Prof Hans Pols and Dr Fiona Hibberd Session: Semester 1 Classes: Two 1 hour lectures and one 2 hour tutorial per week. Prerequisites: (at least 12 credit points of intermediate HPSC Units of study) OR (a CR or above in one HPSC intermediate Unit of Study) OR (12 intermediate credit points in psychology). Prohibitions: PSYC3202 Assumed knowledge: Basic knowledge about the history of modern science as taught in HPSC2100 AND the principles of philosophy of science as taught in HPSC2101 OR knowledge of the various sub-disciplines within Psychology. Assessment: 1x 2500wd essay (45%) and 1x2hr exam (45%) class participation (10%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
Across the unit we examine one of the most interesting aspects of the history and philosophy of science. viz., the scientific practices and assumptions involved in making human beings an object of study. We will examine the ways in which psychologists and psychiatrists have investigated human nature, the kinds of experimental approaches they have developed to that end, the major controversies in this field, and the basic philosophical assumptions that have been made in the sciences of human nature. We investigate the developments of psychological theories and investigative methods as well as the development of psychiatric theory, treatment methods, and institutions.
Textbooks
Leahey, TH (2004). A History of Psychology: Main currents in Psychological Thought. Pearson. Upper Saddle River, N.J. Course reader.
HPSC3107 Science, Ethics and Society

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: A/Prof Hans Pols Session: Semester 1 Classes: One 2-hour lecture and two 1-hour tutorials per week. Prerequisites: (HPSC2100 or HPSC2900) and (HPSC2101 or HPSC2901) Prohibitions: HPSC3022, HPSC3024 Assessment: Two 1500-word essays (2x25%); one 3000-word essay (40%); participation (10%). Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
In this unit of study, we will use approaches from the sociology to investigate the place of science in society, the internal dynamics of science, and ethical issues within science and in relation to its application. The key idea in this course is that science is a social activity that can be studied like other forms of social phenomena and behaviour. There are three components to this Unit of Study: an exploration of the motivations of scientists and how they can be described using cognitive and ethical rules; science and the media; and ethical issues that have become prominent because of recent developments in science.
Textbooks
Sismondo, Sergio. An Introduction to Science and Technology Studies. Wiley-Blackwell, 2010.
HPSC3108 Hist and Phil of the Physical Sciences

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: A/Prof Dean Rickles Session: Semester 1 Classes: One 2-hour lecture and two 1-hour tutorials per week. Prerequisites: HPSC2101 or HPSC2901 Assessment: Four 1500-word essays (4x25%). Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
This unit of study deals with a selection of contemporary debates in the history and philosophy of physical science. It involves four components: (1) the question of how evidence is gathered in the physical sciences and how it is (and/or other factors) go into confirming theories-we also consider what confirmation consists in (including an examination of Bayesianism). (2) Issues of modelling, representation, and measurement, including an analysis of the ways idealisation, approximation, and simulation are to be understood. (3) Models of scientific explanation, including recent work on laws, prediction, and causality. We also discuss whether so-called anthropic explanations constitute genuine explanations. (4) issues of emergence and reduction, including the problems associated with defining such concepts - we also study the impact of the sciences of complexity on the question of whether there are 'fundamental theories'. The unit of study involves case studies from the physical sciences that allow students to apply their knowledge and test their understanding, including climate modelling, the anthropic principle in cosmology, and data gathering at the LHC. Upon completion of the unit, students will have developed a range of skills that will allow them to explore the physical sciences with more critical attitude.
Textbooks
Course reader