Doing Philosophy of Science

Scientific reasoning and its place in society

Name of minor: Doing Philosophy of Science: Scientific Reasoning and its Place in Society
Code: MINWB17
Teaching language: English
Programme which has the coordinating role for this minor: Faculty of Philosophy
Other programmes which are contributing to the minor: not applicable
Access:

See admissions matrix

Content

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 humanities, 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

Organisation

Maximum number of students that can participate: 100
Minimum number of students that can participate:
10

Contact hours: 8 hours of lectures during 8 weeks

Overview modules

Module 1: General philosophy of science

  • Code: FW-WB3916F
  • ECTS:  3.75
  • content: In this module, students are introduced to the basic epistemological, metaphysical, and methodological problems in general philosophy of science. They develop the academic and philosophical skills required for doing general philosophy of science and putting it into practice. They learn to distinguish and recognize the different kinds of scientific reasoning, and to reflects critically on their respective assumptions, powers and limits. They compare critically ”doing science” in their own field with other kinds of ”doing science” (in both other domains and other eras) and reflect on the various roles that scientific knowledge has played, plays, and will play in society.
  • Teaching method: lectures with interactive elements (flipping the classroom)
  • Teaching materials: syllabus on Blackboard
  • Contact hours: 4 hours per week during 4 weeks

Module 2:  Critical creative reasoning and interdisciplinary problem solving

  • Code: FW-WB3916G
  • ECTS: 3.75
  • content: In this module, the interplay between the critical and the creative aspects of scientific reasoning is explored and modeled. Students develop their creative skills and learn how to use them optimally in the context of scientific inquiry. Special attention is devoted to the complications that arise from interdisciplinary problem solving.
  • Teaching method: lectures with interactive elements (flipping the classroom)
  • Teaching materials: syllabus on Blackboard
  • Contact hours: 4 hours per week during 4 weeks

Module 3:  critique: the impact of philosophy of social sciences and humanities

  • Code: FW-WB3916C
  • ECTS: 3.75
  • content: This module will explore some of the most important social theories from the last half century, and their consequences for – interrelations between - disciplinary thinking in the humanities and social sciences. Its guiding notion is that of critique, as it has developed in this timeframe. We will investigate the relation between society and the knowledge produced by the social sciences and the humanities, as well as the methods used to produce such knowledge. We will focus on critical theory (Habermas), (post)structuralism (Foucault), autopoiesis (Luhmann), sympoiesis (Haraway) and actor-network theory (Latour).
  • Teaching method: lectures with interactive elements
  • Teaching materials:  T.b.a.
  • Contact hours: 4 hours per week during 4 weeks 

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 through Blacbkoard
  • Contact hours: 4 hours per week during 4 weeks

Examination

Method of examination: written examination for each of the 4 modules

Composition of final grade: final grade is the average of the 4 module grades

Feedback method: on appointment

Contact information

Contact person:

Name: Dr. T.K.A.M. de Mey
E-mail: demey@remove-this.fwb.eur.nl
Phonenumber:010 408 89 68
Room: H5-10

Faculty website:

www.eur.nl/fw