Contemporary Issues in Philosophy of Science

HPSC- X551 — Spring 2021

Instructor
Elisabeth Lloyd
Course Description

We will review some of the most influential texts and figures of Anglo-American philosophy of science in the 20th-21st Century, aiming to give both undergraduate and graduate students a strong background in the key positions and issues that serve as the background of the field today. Students will read, study, discuss, and write about popular as well as controversial figures such as Karl Popper, Thomas S. Kuhn, Carl Hempel, N.R. Hanson, Imre Lakatos, Helen Longino, Bas van Fraassen, Ernst Nagel, Carol Cleland, Nancy Cartwright, Ian Hacking, and others. The syllabus for the course is oriented around topics for each week, and while the reading list is not long, the students are expected to read each selection three times before seminar meets. Class requirements involve weekly writings, seminar presentations, and a term paper on a choice of assigned topics (this last requirement is for the graduate students only). The emphasis in this seminar is on sympathetic, fair interpretations of author’s writings, respectful and deep discussion of the philosophical issues, and the development of responsible criticism. We usually also have lots of fun in this seminar.