National University




PHL336 Philosophy of Science

Lead Faculty: Dr. Melinda Campbell

Course Description

A survey of major theories of science. Considers the nature of scientific knowledge, the roots of science in our everyday cognition and behavior, the relation of theory to experimentation, the social implications of science, the relation of physical to social science and the relation of science to technology.

Learning Outcomes

  • Answer the following questions: What is the scientific method? What is science? What are the criteria for being a scientist? How is the philosophy of science different from science and how does it influence scientific research and activity?
  • Discuss changes over time and the development of science in relation to theology and scholastic philosophy, including a knowledge of the dawn of modern science (i.e., the discoveries of Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, Descartes, Harvey, Newton, etc.), as well as the development of the understanding of an evolving, relativistic universe (Lyell and Geology in the 1800's, Darwin and Wallace, Einstein, Hawkings, et al.).
  • Develop a concept of truth and scientific explanation (based on an understanding of the works of Peirce, Althusser, Bachelard, Kuhn, and Popper, among others).
  • Present a reasoned discussion of the relations between science and religion regarding major concerns of Bioethics (including abortion, euthanasia, test tube babies, surrogate mothers, and genetic birth defects) and social ethics (social justice, environmental concerns, nuclear power etc.).