Mitchell T. Kaufman
Study of how scientific theories are justified and why they are accepted, using selected examples from the history of science.
This course is intended to give a broad introduction to the philosophy of science. We will survey some of the most important philosophical issues inherent to science as a mode of knowledge acquisition and as a practical discipline, and we will read selections from some of the most important contributors to the historical debates within the philosophy of science. The issues to be covered include: the distinction between science and non-science, the theory-ladenness of observation, scientific realism, the problem of induction, theory confirmation and falsification, scientific explanation, the unity of science, and the connection between science, values, and society. In addition to the author's explication of the major themes, we will read excerpts from the publications of many esteemed scientists and philosophers including: Nancy Cartwright, Pierre Duhem, Albert Einstein, Arthur Fine, Bas van Fraassen, Ian Hacking, Carl Hempel, Paul Oppenheim, Karl Popper, and Wesley Salmon.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Class assignments and grading