PHIL 460 A: Philosophy of Science

Spring 2024
MWF 10:00am - 11:20am / SAV 130
Section Type:
Syllabus Description (from Canvas):

Course Time: Mon/Wed/Fri 1-2:20PM

Course Location: Savery Hall 136

Instructor: Benjamin Feintzeig
Office Hours: Mon 2:30-3:30PM, Th 4:00-5:00PM, and by appointment
Office Location: Savery Hall M397, Tel.: (206) 543-5094


Philosophy of Science: The Central Issues, by Martin Curd and J.A. Cover. New York: W.W. Norton & Company

All other readings will be made available on the course website.


Course Description:

Science is supposed to be the human knowledge-gaining enterprise par excellence. But what distinguishes science from other human endeavors? And what, if anything, makes the methods used by scientists more objective or rational? This course will investigate questions about the nature of scientific knowledge through an introductory survey to contemporary philosophy of science. Topics covered will include empirical meaningfulness, scientific confirmation, scientific explanation, theory change, the engagement of science with social issues and values, and scientific realism. Throughout, we'll pay particular attention to examples from the history of science (including the physical, biological, and social sciences) and the context in which theories develop.


Course Outcomes: By the end of the quarter, students will be able to:

      1. Read and explain contemporary literature in the philosophy of science.
      2. Think critically about the nature of scientific knowledge and its role in society.
      3. Defend theses concerning the nature of science with clear arguments and evidence.


You can find a link to the full syllabus with course schedule here.


For more information on writing philosophy papers, take a look at these resources:

Harvard's guide to writing philosophy

Jim Pryor's guide to writing philosophy

Philosophy writing center

Catalog Description:
Critical study of the nature of scientific knowledge. Topics include the relation of theory to observation, the use of mathematics, how theories change, the requirements for the meaningfulness of a theory, and nature of confirmation.. Prerequisite: one PHIL course.
GE Requirements Met:
Social Sciences (SSc)
Natural Sciences (NSc)
Writing (W)
Last updated:
July 18, 2024 - 12:31 am