Minor Doing Philosophy of Science

Broadening minor
Minor code


Given the pivotal role that science plays both in the academic world and in society at large, philosophers have considered and continue to consider the very foundations of science, the possibility and nature of scientific knowledge, its historical, social and political prerequisites and ramifications, and the relation between, on the one hand, scientific theories and models, and, on the other hand, the world.  This minor is a thorough introduction to all these aspects of philosophy and of science, and focuses especially on carefully developing the academic and philosophical skills for doing philosophy of science, and on putting them into practice.

Learning objectives

  • Acquiring the academic and philosophical skills for doing philosophy of science

  • Being able to distinguish, recognize and compare the different kinds of scientific reasoning
  • Being able to reflect critically on the assumptions, powers and limits of the different kinds of scientific reasoning
  • Understanding and evaluating the resemblances and differences between kinds of doing science in both other domains and other eras
  • Being able to reflect critically on the various roles that scientific knowledge plays in society
  • Understanding the methodology of philosophical critique with regard to social sciences and humanties, and assessing its relevance for society
  • Being able to analyze and evaluate the different kinds of critique, both historically and systematically
  • Learning about classical and contemporary ideas and debates in philosophical anthropology, the philosophy of technology, and science and technology studies

Overview modules

Module 1: Philosophy of Science I: historical introduction

  • Code: FW-WB3916F
  • ECTS:  3.75
  • Content: This course offers a brief history of science itself and of the philosophy of science, focusing on the styles of scientific reasoning in
    - Ancient and Medieval Science
    - The Scientific Revolution
    - Romanticism and Positivism
    - Classical Philosophy of Science
    Students reflect critically on the powers and limits of the various styles of scientific reasoning.
  • Teaching method: (flipped) lectures and tutorials
  • Teaching materials: online lectures
  • Contact hours: 6 hours per week 
  • Self study: 12 hours per week

Module 2: Philosophy of Science II: logic, method, knowledge, reality

  • Code: FW-WB 3916G
  • ECTS: 3.75
  • Content: In this course we shall provide an answer to the question what science is, which involves addressing the values of science and the social context of science. We analyse the Big Five of philosophy of science: the most prominent concepts used ubiquitously in science: theory, model, confirmation, method, explanation. We also enter the realism debate in philosophy of science, which revolves around the issue whether science does and can tell us the truth about reality by means of so-called scientific knowledge.
  • Teaching method: Lectures with questions, and tutorials.
    Crash Course Logic in two of the four tutorials.
  • Teaching materials: Self-written modules per subject with exercises, to be discussed by the tutors.
  • Contact hours: 6 hours per week 
  • Self study: 12 hours per week

Module 3: Critique: The Impact of Philosophy on Social Sciences and Humanities

  • Code: FW-WB 3916C
  • ECTS: 3.75
  • Content: What is critical thinking? What is its function in an era of ‘alternative facts’? This module explores some of the most important postwar continental social-philosophical theories and their consequences for disciplinary thinking in the humanities and social sciences. Guiding notion is that of critique, as developed by the Frankfurt School. We investigate the relation between society and the knowledge produced and methods used by social sciences and humanities (but also by medical and environmental sciences). We focus on critical theory (Habermas, Frankfurt School), poststructuralism (Foucault), feminist critique, postcolonial critique, tentacular thinking (Haraway) and critical realism (Latour).
  • Teaching method: Weekly 2x 2h lectures, 1x 2h seminars (the tutorials are especially trained for the seminars).
  • Teaching materials: Texts of Haraway, Latour, Foucault and others, available via Blackboard.
  • Contact hours: 6 hours per week. 
  • Self study: 10 hours per week.

Module 4: Technology and Social Change

  • Code: FW-WB3916B
  • ECTS: 3.75
  • Content: This module gives an introduction to different perspectives on how to understand the relationship between technology/technological development on the one hand and society/social change on the other hand. Students are made familiar with a set of key concepts and perspectives regarding this relationship, such as ‘technological determinism”, ‘social shaping’, ‘domestication’, ‘mediation’ and ‘ethical design’. These concepts from the philosophy of technology and STS will be illustrated by focusing on recent developments in the field of ICTs and the internet.
  • Teaching method: Lectures and interactive working groups.
  • Teaching materials: Available on Blackboard.
  • Contact hours: 6 hours per week.
  • Self study: 12 hours per week.


Method of examination
Written examination for each of the four modules.

Composition of final grade
Final grade is the average of the 4 module grades.

Review sessions for exams; on individual appointment.

Contact information

Mw. L. Schots

Faculty website
Erasmus School of Philosophy

Broadening minor
Minor code
Erasmus School of Philosophy
Study points (ECTS)
Instruction language
Campus Woudestein, Rotterdam


Please read the application procedure for more information.