Paul L. Franco
Study of one or more current topics in philosophy of science such as scientific realism, explanation, confirmation, causation. Prerequisite: one PHIL course; recommended: PHIL 120; PHIL 160.
Are what scientific theories scientists develop and believe influenced by extra-scientific values? Do social facts determine what counts as scientific truth? What do our answers to these questions mean for the view that scientific practice consists in the objective pursuit of truth? These questions occupy the strands of philosophy of science that we will study in the course. Influenced in part by investigations into the social dimensions of scientific and practice and investigations into the social dimensions to knowledge, most philosophers of science agree that social, political, and practical values inform and maybe even guide scientific practice. However, disagreements about the extent to which values and science are intertwined characterize contemporary philosophy of science. And even if philosophers of science do agree on the relevance of values to scientific practice, they might still disagree about what this means for our notions of scientific objectivity, truth, and progress over time. Does the relationship between values and scientific practice mean that we should revise these traditional notions or give up on them altogether?
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