Philosophy 3330:
Philosophy of Science
Spring, 2014

Professor Joel Velasco
Office: 265G (Eng/phil building)
Office Hours: T, TR 2:00-3:00 or by appointment

Class meets MWF, 1:00-1:50 (in Phil 164)

You can download a copy of the syllabus here: syllabus
An introduction to fundamental philosophical problems concerning the nature of science. Topics include criteria for the confirmation and falsification of scientific theories, the character of scientific explanation, realism about unobservable entities, the objectivity of science, and issues having to do with the ways in which scientific knowledge changes over time.
Books available at the university bookstore:

Peter Godfrey-Smith, Theory and Reality: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Science, University of Chicago Press, 2003 (= PGS)

Evaluation: Grades for this course will be based upon two in-class examinations and upon two papers. Each is worth roughly 25% of the final grade. A student must receive a passing grade on each of these components in order to pass the course.

Class Participation: Philosophy is a communal enterprise: the ability to make valuable oral contributions to philosophical discussions can be as important as the ability to write well. Moreover, since the written assignments will force the students to think carefully about very specific topics, participation in class discussion is an important way for students to demonstrate a broader competence with the material than is possible in the papers alone. Students are encouraged to continue class discussions after the class is over, by meeting with me in person or continuing the discussion over e-mail. Students who for any reason have difficulty speaking up in class are especially encouraged to pursue these options. It should go without saying that attendance is an absolutely essential component of class participation.

Electronic Devices: Students may have laptop computers, or other portable electronic devices, for the purpose of taking notes, and occasionally looking up material relevant to class discussion. However, there will be no internet-surfing, texting, tweeting, instant messaging, e-mailing, gaming, or other use of electronic devices not directly related to class. Also, please silence all phones before class starts.

Special Accommodations: If you have a disability or personal circumstance that will require special accommodation, please do not hesitate to contact me.

This is a tentative schedule/reading list:

Week 1 - Introduction

Week 2 - Falsificationism, Holism

Week 3 - Demarcation and Creationism

Week 4 - The Problem of Induction

Week 5 - Bayesianism

***First Exam handed out***

Week 6 - Scientific Explanation

Week 7 - Explanation in Biology

Week 8 - Kuhn

*** First Paper Assignment***

Week 9 - After Kuhn

SPRING BREAK - 3/15-3/22

Week 10 - The Sociology of Science

Week 11 - Feminism and the Philosophy of Science

Week 12 - Values in Science

Week 13

Week 14 -

Week 15

Week 16 - Wrap up

*** Final Paper Assignment*** - Due Sun, May 11th