Skip to main content
Unit of study_

Hist and Phil of the Physical Sciences (HPSC3108)

This unit of study deals with a selection of contemporary debates in the history and philosophy of natural sciences. It covers four main themes: (1) the question of how evidence is gathered in the natural 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.  (4) issues of emergence and reduction, including the problems associated with defining such concepts - we also consider notions of simplicity and the impact of the sciences of complexity. The unit of study involves case studies from the natural sciences that allow students to apply their knowledge and test their understanding. 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.

Classes
One 2-hour lecture and two 1-hour tutorials per week.

Assessment
Four 1500-word essays (4x25%).

Textbooks
Course reader

Pre-requisites

HPSC2101 or HPSC2901

Details

Semester 1

05 Mar 2018

Department/School: History and Philosophy of Science Academic Operations
Study Mode: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
Census Date: 31 Mar 2018
Unit of study level: Senior
Credit points: 6.0
EFTSL: 0.125
Available for study abroad and exchange: Yes
Faculty/department permission required? No
Location
Census dates shows the latest date to cancel out of a unit*
Unit of Study coordinator: Prof Peter Godfrey-Smith
HECS Band: 1
Courses that offer this unit

Non-award/non-degree study If you wish to undertake one or more units of study (subjects) for your own interest but not towards a degree, you may enrol in single units as a non-award student. Cross-institutional study If you are from another Australian tertiary institution you may be permitted to undertake cross-institutional study in one or more units of study at the University of Sydney.

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.