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Philosophy of Science

This class introduces students to established theories and key concepts in the philosophy of science, as well as explores new directions such as the moral and social obligations of scientists. We will begin by examining what science is, looking in particular at scientific methodology including induction, confirmation, and falsification. This will put us in a position to address questions about the nature of scientific knowledge, such as “What is scientific knowledge?” and “How does it resemble or differ from other ways of knowing?” We will also consider scientific progress, both as it relates to scientific knowledge and in the broader context of scientific revolutions. Next, we will explore the significance of several philosophical commitments that are especially relevant to science, including naturalism and scientific realism. Finally, we will examine whether scientists have any special moral responsibilities given the power and influence they have in our society.