PHIL208-16A (HAM)

Understanding Science: How and Why it Works

20 Points

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Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Te Kura Kete Aronui
School of Social Sciences
Philosophy

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Paper Description

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It is commonly thought that some sets of beliefs (e.g. theories in nuclear physics, neuroscience and evolutionary biology) are scientific, whereas other sets of beliefs (e.g. theories of extra-sensory perception, astrology and reincarnation) are unscientific. But what is the difference between the two? Is it something about the way they were derived, and if so, what? What is it that scientists do that is different to what other groups of people do? Can we learn anything about human knowledge more generally by thinking about what is special about science? In this paper we will critically evaluate a range of answers to these questions.
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Paper Structure

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As well as attending lectures, students are expected to attend one tutorial per week starting in Week 2.
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Learning Outcomes

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Students who successfully complete the course should be able to:

  • Think analytically about philosophical issues concerning science.
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  • Analyse, evaluate and construct philosophical arguments, both in oral discussion and in written work
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  • Understand some of the most influential positions taken on these issues in recent Western philosophy
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  • Understand the significance of some important episodes in the history of science
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  • Understand how science is used in some current public debates
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Assessment

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Internally Assessed Components

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The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 2:3. There is no final exam. The final exam makes up 60% of the overall mark.

The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 2:3 or 0:0, whichever is more favourable for the student. The final exam makes up either 60% or 0% of the overall mark.

Component DescriptionDue Date TimePercentage of internal markSubmission MethodCompulsory
1. In-ClassTest
14 Apr 2016
1:00 PM
25
  • Hand-in: In Lecture
2. Essay
26 May 2016
11:00 PM
60
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
3. Class participation
15
Internal Assessment Total:     100    
Failing to complete a compulsory assessment component of a paper will result in an IC grade
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Required and Recommended Readings

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Required Readings

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Understanding Philosophy of Science, James Ladyman.

Other reading to be supplied on Moodle.

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Online Support

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Some readings will be available on Moodle.

Powerpoint slides will be available before each lecture. We suggest that you bring them to lectures and use them as a basis for the notes you take in the lecture.

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Workload

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200 hours.
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