704907 Epistemology: How we know what we know

summer semester 2014 | Last update: 04.02.2014 Place course on memo list
Epistemology: How we know what we know
SV 2
• Understanding that philosophy of science goes beyond the baconian method. • Understand that meta-questions exist. • Practice formulating reasoned arguments, beyond reciting facts. The aim of the course is not to pack information into the students’ heads, but to get the students to engage with – understand, digest, and possibly object to - the ideas presented.
Review of some of the critical points - Francis Bacon: The baconian (or scientific) method, Karl Popper: Falsificatonism, Willard Van Orman Quine: Ontological relativism, Thomas Kuhn: Paradigm shifts, Imre Lakatos: Research programmes, Paul Feyerabend: It is what it is. The importance of Weltanschauung - Foundationalism / Coherentism, Reductionism / Holism, Realism / Anti-realism. Practical import for science – What does science do? What should science do? What can science do?
Lecture: One hour per week. Discussion: One hour per week. Reading: Students will be expected to read additional material outside the contact hours stated.
Three short essays (1000 words each). One oral exam.

This is a long list. You will be expected to have read at least two of these books in full by the end of the course. (You do not have to read them in English. You can take the original German or Russian if you prefer.)

• Feyerabend, P. Against Method.

• Kuhn, Thomas S. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. 

• Lakatos, I. Methodology of Scientific Research Programmes.

• Murphy, N. Anglo-American Postmodernity.

• Polanyi, M. Personal Knowledge.

• Popper, K. The Logic of Scientific Discovery

• Popper, K. Conjectures and Refutations: The Growth of Scientific Knowledge

• Quine, Willard van Orman. From a Logical Point of View

By the end of the course all students should be able to discuss the following link, with reference to Bacon, Popper, Quine, Kuhn, Lakatos and Feyerabend:
to be announced
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