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Unit of study_

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

This Unit of Study explores the very nature of science and how it is practised. Using contemporary and historical scientific examples, the unit looks into whether a sharp line can be drawn between science and non-science, and what criteria can be used to distinguish science from pseudoscience. Various tools of science will be examined philosophically and historically, including theories, models, explanations, data analysis and concepts. The unit also looks into the ways in which science is a social process, with an emphasis on values, biases, and the institutionalized organization of science. To complete this broad overview, topics such as science denialism (not accepting various bodies of scientific knowledge) and scientism (valuing science above all other knowledge systems) will also be addressed.

Code HPSC1901
Academic unit History and Philosophy of Science Academic Operations
Credit points 6
HPSC2101 or HPSC2901 or HPSC1001
Assumed knowledge:
(ATAR 90 or above) or equivalent

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. understand philosophical and historical discussions of science and critically assess arguments in these areas
  • LO2. write clear and well-organized responses to philosophical and historical discussions of science, and develop your own views on these issues
  • LO3. relate general philosophical and historical ideas about science to particular examples of scientific work.

Unit outlines

Unit outlines will be available 1 week before the first day of teaching for the relevant session.