PHIL2005 Exploring the Nature of Science

Credit
6 points
Offering
(see Timetable)

If this unit does not have an online alternative, then students who are presently unable to enter Western Australia and whose studies would be delayed by an inability to complete this unit, should contact the unit coordinator (details given on this page) to ascertain, on an individual case-by-case basis, if alternate arrangements can be made to support their study in this unit.

AvailabilityLocationMode
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face Predominantly face-to-face. On campus attendance required to complete this unit. May have accompanying resources online.
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Online timetabled 100% Online Unit. NO campus face-to-face attendance is required to complete this unit. All study requirements are online only. Unit includes some synchronous components, with a requirement for students to participate online at specific times.
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 2 option in the Philosophy; Philosophy, Politics and Economics major sequences
  • Level 2 elective
Content
Does science provide a guide to reality? Should we believe in the existence of black holes, electrons and quantum particles simply because science tells us to? Is there a single characteristic that distinguishes science from other intellectual endeavours? This unit examines some of the deep philosophical issues that arise when reflecting on the nature and purpose of scientific inquiry. Topics covered may include, but are not limited to: logical positivism; falsificationism; rival theories of scientific method; the possibility of a ‘demarcation criterion' distinguishing science from non-science; influential arguments for and against scientific realism; the nature of scientific revolutions and progress in science; feminist and sociological challenges to the status of science; the nature of scientific explanation; and issues surrounding reduction and the ‘unity of science'.
Outcomes
Students are able to (1) independently interpret philosophical texts; (2) locate philosophical ideas in their historical context; (3) evaluate philosophical positions, including identifying counter-examples and identifying and questioning their basic assumptions; (4) express ideas in a clear and precise manner; (5) construct persuasive arguments; (6) demonstrate strong written communication and research skills; (7) demonstrate familiarity with key terms, positions, and arguments in philosophy of science; (8) demonstrate an understanding of how philosophical issues arise inevitably from the study and practice of science; and (9) identify and critically evaluate metaphysical and epistemological assumptions underlying various conceptions of scientific inquiry.
Assessment
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) quizzes; (2) assignments; and (3) participation. Further information is available in the unit outline.

To pass this unit, a student must: (a) achieve an overall mark of 50 per cent or higher for the unit; and (b) achieve the requisite requirements(s) or a mark of 50 per cent or greater, whichever is higher and specified in the unit outline, for the assignments component.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit except in the case of a bachelor's pass degree student who has obtained a mark of 45 to 49 overall and is currently enrolled in this unit, and it is the only remaining unit that the student must pass in order to complete their course.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Chris Letheby
Unit rules
Prerequisites:
24 points of Level 1 units
Incompatibility:
PHIL2270 Philosophy of Science
Contact hours
lectures: 2 hours per week (for 10 weeks); workshops: 1 hour per week (for 10 weeks)
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.