HPSC1001 & HPSC1901 (advanced) - Introduction to Philosophy of Science: What Is This Thing Called Science?

Coordinator 2018
FOR 2018 ONLY THIS WILL BE OFFERED AS BOTH A JUNIOR AND INTERMEDIATE UNIT OF STUDY.. IF YOU NEED ANY CLARIFICATION PLEASE CONTACT THE UNIT COORDINATOR
6 credit points
Classes: 2x1-hr lectures and 1x1-hr tutorial per week
Assessment: essays and online tasks

What distinguishes creationism from evolutionary theory, or astrology from astronomy, if anything? Should we believe that today's theories are improvements on those that preceded them? How do we know that what we see and do in scientific practice reflects what is really out there? This course critically examines the most important attempts to describe the 'scientific method', to draw a line dividing science from non-science, and to justify the high status often accorded to scientific knowledge. The 'philosophies of science' studied include Popper's idea that truly scientific theories are falsifiable in principle, Kuhn's proposal that science consists of a series of 'paradigms' separated by chaotic ‘revolutions'; and Feyerabend's 'anarchist' claim that there are no objective criteria by which science can be distinguished from pseudoscience. The course also explores contemporary views about the nature of evidence and explanation in science, and the formation of scientific consensus. In This Unit of Study, we will discuss; The Scientific Method; Science and Pseudoscience Scientific Progress; Sociopolitical Influences on Science; & Evidence, Explanation, and Truth.