Philosophy of Science - PHIL5800

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2024 to 2025.


The module will study some of the major works in the history of modern philosophy of science. Texts to be studied will be drawn from a list that includes major works by philosophers such as Popper, Kuhn, Lakatos, Shapere, and Feyerabend. The approach will be philosophical and critical, and will involve the close reading of texts. Students will be expected to engage critically with the works being studied and to formulate and argue for their own views on the issues covered.
An indicative list of themes to be studied: Inductivism versus falsificationism, Research Programmes, Incommensurability, Realism, Instrumentalism, Sociology of Scientific Knowledge, Causal Reasoning and Scientific Explanation.


Contact hours

Total Contact Hours: 40


Also available under code PL606 (Level 5)

Method of assessment

Seminar Participation – 15%
Article Review (1,800 words) – 30%
Essay (3,200 words) – 55%

Indicative reading

Indicative reading:

Godfrey-Smith, P. (2003). Theory and Reality. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Kuhn, T. (1962). The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Popper, K. (2002). The Logic of Scientific Discovery, 2nd edition. London: Routledge.
Salmon, W. (1998). Causality and Explanation. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module Level 6 students will be able to:

Demonstrate deep and sustained understanding of some of the major theories of scientific reasoning
Demonstrate, through their study of these theories, the ability to engage in sustained critical fashion with some of the central philosophical issues in this area concerning the status of scientific claims, the nature of scientific theory change, confirmation of scientific hypotheses, and causal reasoning in science, and significantly enhanced their understanding of them
Demonstrate their ability to engage in a close and sustained critical reading of some of major texts in the philosophy of science.


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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