PHIL 2050 - Philosophy of Science
North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2023
General Course Information
Course Code PHIL 2050 Course Philosophy of Science Coordinating Unit Philosophy Term Semester 2 Level Undergraduate Location/s North Terrace Campus Units 3 Contact Up to 3 hours per week Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y Prerequisites At least 12 units of Level I undergraduate study Incompatible PHIL 2013 or PHIL 3013 Course Description Science has a significant impact on our lives. Some have criticized it for being "reductionist" and part of a general dehumanization of society. Others argue that the sciences are our only means of avoiding the many dangers we currently face. Philosophy of Science will examine these and other central issues in the contemporary philosophy of science, including: the objectivity of science, the nature of scientific method, the status of scientific knowledge, and the character of scientific explanation. The course will also explore the general picture of reality that emerges from modern science.
Course Coordinator: Dr Jonathan Opie
The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.
Course Learning OutcomesOn successfully completing this course students will be able to:
- Demonstrate an understanding of some central problems in philosophy of science.
- Analyze and critically engage with contemporary work in philosophy of science.
- Express and defend their own views, through written work and constructive dialogue.
- Explain how key aspects of human nature shape the way we produce knowledge.
University Graduate Attributes
This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:
University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
Attribute 1: Deep discipline knowledge and intellectual breadth
Graduates have comprehensive knowledge and understanding of their subject area, the ability to engage with different traditions of thought, and the ability to apply their knowledge in practice including in multi-disciplinary or multi-professional contexts.
Attribute 2: Creative and critical thinking, and problem solving
Graduates are effective problems-solvers, able to apply critical, creative and evidence-based thinking to conceive innovative responses to future challenges.
Attribute 3: Teamwork and communication skills
Graduates convey ideas and information effectively to a range of audiences for a variety of purposes and contribute in a positive and collaborative manner to achieving common goals.
Attribute 4: Professionalism and leadership readiness
Graduates engage in professional behaviour and have the potential to be entrepreneurial and take leadership roles in their chosen occupations or careers and communities.
Attribute 5: Intercultural and ethical competency
Graduates are responsible and effective global citizens whose personal values and practices are consistent with their roles as responsible members of society.
Attribute 8: Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
Graduates are self-aware and reflective; they are flexible and resilient and have the capacity to accept and give constructive feedback; they act with integrity and take responsibility for their actions.
Required ResourcesThe course textbook is:
Chalmers, A. F. (2013) What is this thing called Science? 4th ed., UQP
Tutorial readings will be made available on MyUni. These are also suitable reference material for preparation of your written assignments.
Online LearningThe following online resources will be made avaiable:
- Tutorial Papers. These are posted one week in advance of your tutorial.
- Readings. These include articles and book chapters for tutorial and essay preparation.
- Lecture Notes. These are summaries only, and are not a substitute for attending lectures.
- Lecture Recordings. Sometimes these take a day or two to be posted, so please be patient.
Learning & Teaching Activities
Learning & Teaching Modes
- Lectures. There is a two-hour face-face lecture each week, which is also available online.
- Workshops. Workshops will help you develop skills of analysis and verbal communication. To prepare for the workshops, please submit brief written answers to the questions made available each week on MyUni.
The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.
1 x 2-hour lecture per week 24 hours per semester 1 x 1-hour worshop per week 12 hours per semester 4 hours assignment preparation per week 48 hours per semester 3 hours workshop preparation per week 36 hours per semester 3 hours reading per week 36 hours per semester TOTAL WORKLOAD 156 hours per semester
Learning Activities SummaryBelow is a summary of the topics we will cover in Philosophy of Science.
- Topic 1: The Methods & Status of Science (12 Lectures)
What is the aim of science? Is there a universal “scientific method”? Are there principled ways of distinguishing between science and non-science? How do scientists justify scientific claims and resolve theoretical disputes? Are there ways of measuring the growth and progress of scientific knowledge? Is science an objective enterprise? Do the cultural settings in which scientific work occurs affect the content and quality of that work?
- Topic 2: The Products of Science (12 Lectures)
What is the nature of scientific explanation? What kinds of relationships exist between different scientific disciplines? What is the relationship between scientific theories and the world?
The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:
- Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
- Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
- Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
- Assessment must maintain academic standards.
Assessment Task Task Type Weighting Learning Outcomes Workshop Participation Formative 20% 1–6 Essay 1 Summative 40% 1–4 Essay 2 Summative 40% 1–4
Assessment DetailYour assessment in Philosophy of Science will involve workshop participation and essays.
- Workshops. Each week you will provide brief written answers to workshop questions discussed in class.
- Essay 1 (1200-1500 words). You will choose one question based on material from Topic 1.
- Essay 2 (1500-1800 words). You will choose one question based on material from Topic 2.
- It must include a brief introduction and conclusion.
- It must acknowledge any dependence, direct or indirect, on source material.
- It must include a reference list of all material cited in the essay.
- It must not lie outside the stated word limits (see above).
SubmissionYour assignments are submitted through MyUni. If you are not familiar with the process, there’s a tutorial here. Remember that it is your responsibility to submit your assignments correctly. The submission process is as follows:
- Log into MyUni and select Philosophy_of_Science (PHIL_2050)
- Select Assignments in the left-hand menu.
- Select Essay 1 Submission or Essay 2 Submission, as appropriate.
- Select Browse My Computer then choose a file to submit for marking.
- Please keep an electronic copy of your essay, just in case.
Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:
M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme) Grade Mark Description FNS Fail No Submission F 1-49 Fail P 50-64 Pass C 65-74 Credit D 75-84 Distinction HD 85-100 High Distinction CN Continuing NFE No Formal Examination RP Result Pending
Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.
Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.
Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.
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