Philosophy of Science

Course description Philosophy of Science
Year: 2017-2018
Catalog number: 5181V4PS
Teacher(s):
  • Dr. J.W. McAllister
Language: English
Blackboard: Yes
EC: 5
Level: 100
Period: Semester 2, Block III, IV
  • No Elective choice
  • No Contractonderwijs
  • No Exchange
  • No Study Abroad
  • No Evening course
  • No A la Carte
  • No Honours Class

Admission requirements

This course is only available for students in the BA International Studies who have failed the course Philosophy of Science in 2016-2017 or 2015-2016.

Description

Anyone who works in International Studies must be able to recognize, assess, and combine contributions made by different scientific and academic disciplines to our understanding of a complex reality. To do this, one must have an overview of the outlook and methods of the social sciences and humanities, the ways in which these disciplines engage with their objects, and the forms of knowledge that they produce.

Philosophy of science is the philosophical study of the presuppositions, concepts, methods, and output of the sciences. This course opens with a comparison of the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities: it studies the ways in which these disciplines engage with their objects and the forms of knowledge that they produce. Later, the course examines key issues and problems of present-day philosophy of science. These include observation, theory, explanation, law, falsification, paradigm, and revolution. The course helps students of International Studies recognize, appreciate, and assess contributions made by different scientific and academic disciplines to our understanding of a complex reality.

Course objectives

A student successfully completing this course has knowledge of and insight in the following topics:
  • Typical features of the natural sciences, the social sciences, and the humanities; elements of the historical development of these disciplines; characteristics of the methods that they pursue and the knowledge that they yield; the differences between them;
  • Key concepts, issues, and problems in present-day philosophy of science, including observation, induction, theory, explanation, law of nature, falsification, paradigm, and revolution;
  • Some modern debates in philosophy of science concerning the above concepts;
  • The contributions to philosophy of science of some important thinkers, including Karl R. Popper and Thomas S. Kuhn.
A student successfully completing this course has the skills to:
  • Give an account of the similarities and differences between scientific and academic disciplines belonging to the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities;
  • Give an account of the key concepts, issues, and problems listed above, as well as of the debates concerning them and the contributions of the important philosophers of science named above;
  • Choose and motivate views and assessments of his or her own with relation to all the above.

Timetable

The timetable is available on the BA International Studies website.

Mode of instruction

Lectures

Lectures are held every week, with the exception of the midterm exam week. Weekly lectures will cover issues both inside and outside the readings.

Tutorials

There are no tutorials for this course.

Course Load

Total course load for this course is 5 EC (1 EC = 28 hours), this equals 140 hours, broken down by:
  • Attending lectures: 24 hours
  • Assessment hours (midterm and final exam): 4 hours
  • Reading and preparing for lectures and exams: 112 hours

Assessment method

Assessment

  • Midterm exam:
    Written examination with closed questions (multiple choice).
  • Final exam:
    Written examination with closed questions (multiple choice).

Weighing

Partial grade Weighing
Midterm Exam 25%
Final Exam 75%

End grade

To successfully complete the course, please take note of the following:
  • The end grade of the course is established by determining the weighted average of the midterm exam and the final exam.
  • The weighted average of the midterm exam and final exam needs to be 5.5 or higher.

Resit

If the end grade is insufficient (lower than a 6), or the weighted average of midterm- and final exams is lower than 5.5, there is a possibility of retaking the full 100% of the exam material, replacing both the earlier midterm and final exam grades.

Retaking a passing grade

Please consult the Course and Examination Regulations 2017 – 2018.

Exam review

How and when an exam review takes place will be determined by the examiner. This review will be within 30 days after official publication of exam results.

Blackboard

Students are requested to enroll on Blackboard for this course, but only after correct enrolment in uSis.

Reading list

A selection of articles and other literature items. Details will be circulated during the course.

Registration

Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.

Contact

Dr. J.W. McAllister

When contacting lecturers or tutors, please include your full name, student number and tutorial group number.

Languages