What is science, and how and why does it work so well? What must nature be like if science is to be possible? Can science replace philosophy when it comes to answering the most fundamental questions about reality? This module explores metaphysical and epistemological questions that arise in general philosophy of science and in the philosophy of the special sciences. Topics will include some of the following: science and pseudoscience, realism and explanation, laws of nature, chance and determinism, natural kinds and causation, the relationship between science and philosophy.
By the end of the module students should be able to:
- identify and explain a range of distinct philosophical puzzles presented by the success of natural science.
- show understanding of the significance of distinct systematic conceptions of the nature and function of science.
- clearly articulate different views of the relation between science and philosophy
- analyse and evaluate philosophical arguments and communicate their analyses, evaluations, and arguments well.
Lectures, seminars, guided independent study
Assessments: 2 x 2000 word essays (50% each)