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Unit of study_

What is this Thing Called Science? (Adv) - HPSC1901

Year - 2020

What distinguishes creationism from evolutionary theory, or astrology from astronomy? Can we have good reason to believe that our current scientific theories represent the world "as it really is"? This course critically examines the most important attempts to describe the scientific method, to draw a line dividing science from non-science, and to justify the high status generally accorded to scientific knowledge. Views studied include Karl Popper's idea that scientific theories are falsifiable in principle, Thomas Kuhn's proposal that science consists of a series of paradigms separated by abrupt scientific revolutions, and various claims that science cannot really be distinguished from other approaches to knowledge. This unit of study also explores contemporary theories of evidence and explanation, the role of values in science, sociological approaches to understanding science, feminist perspectives on science, and the nature of scientific consensus.

2x1-hr lectures; 1x1-hr online study; and 1x1-hr advanced tutorial per week

1000-word essay (20%), 2x 2000-word essays (each worth 30%), 10x online exercises (10%), tutorial participation (10%)

Godfrey-Smith, P (2003). Theory and Reality. The University of Chicago Press. USA/ Curd, Cover and Pincock (2013). Philosophy of Science: The Central Issues (2nd edition). W. W. Norton and Company.

Assumed knowledge
(ATAR 90 or above) or equivalent


HPSC2101 or HPSC2901 or HPSC1001


Faculty: Science

Semester 2

24 Aug 2020

Department/School: History and Philosophy of Science Academic Operations
Study Mode: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
Census Date: 28 Sep 2020
Unit of study level: Junior
Credit points: 6.0
EFTSL: 0.125
Available for study abroad and exchange: Yes
Faculty/department permission required? Yes
More details
Unit of Study coordinator: Professor Peter Godfrey-Smith
HECS Band: 1
Courses that offer this unit

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