What distinguishes creationism from evolutionary theory, or astrology from astronomy? Can we have good reason to believe that our current scientific theories represent the world "as it really is"? 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 generally accorded to scientific knowledge. Views studied include Karl Popper's idea that scientific theories are falsifiable in principle, Thomas Kuhn's proposal that science consists of a series of paradigms separated by abrupt scientific revolutions, and various claims that science cannot really be distinguished from other approaches to knowledge. This unit of study also explores contemporary theories of evidence and explanation, the role of values in science, sociological approaches to understanding science, feminist perspectives on science, and the nature of scientific consensus.
2x1-hr lectures; 1x1-hr online study; and 1x1-hr advanced tutorial per week
1000-word essay (20%), 2x 2000-word essays (each worth 30%), 10x online exercises (10%), tutorial participation (10%)
Godfrey-Smith, P (2003). Theory and Reality. The University of Chicago Press. USA/ Curd, Cover and Pincock (2013). Philosophy of Science: The Central Issues (2nd edition). W. W. Norton and Company.
(ATAR 90 or above) or equivalent
HPSC2101 or HPSC2901 or HPSC1001