Philosophy of Science (330)
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PHIL 330: Philosophy of Science

This is not, and does not pretend to be, a science course. It is a philosophy course the subject matter of which is a subset of the set of issues that arise as a result of the philosophical examination of science. Science is a remarkably successful, complex, human social activity and, as such, is of considerable philosophical interest. 

We consider the main issues and concepts in the philosophy of science. We start with a working definition of a scientific theory. We then investigate certain concepts involved in that definition. These concepts include the concepts of justification and explanation. In addition, we consider both the plausibility and implications of that working definition. Extending our investigation of the nature of evidence or justification, we consider the Problem of Induction. Finally, we explore issues involved in the dispute between Realism and Anti-Realism in science.


Philosophy of Natural Science. Hempel.
Reading the Book of Nature. Kosso.
The Foundations of Scientific Inference. Salmon.
The Scientific Image. van Fraassen.
The Philosopher's Dictionary. Martin.


You must make a presentation on Reading the Book of Nature, take both the mid-term and the final, and 4 out of the 5 pop-quizzes.


Of the 100 points possible, 20 are from the presentation, 20 are from the quizzes, 30 are from the mid-term, and 30 are from the final.


  • Preliminaries.
  • Hempel's Basic Philosophy of Science..
    • Hypotheses and Tests.
    • Laws and Generalizations.
    • Theories and Explanations.
    • Reductionism.
  • Presentations on Kosso's, post-Kuhnian, Philosophy of Science.
  • Epistemology in Philosophy of Science: The Problem of Induction.
    • Hume's Problem of Induction.
    • Inductivist solutions.
    • Kantian approaches.
    • Russell's discussion.
    • A "scientific" solution.
    • A pragmatic solution.
    • Goodman's New Riddle of Induction.
  • Ontology in Philosophy of Science: Van Fraassen's critique of Scientific Realism.