Scientific Methods

HPSC-X340/X540 — Spring 2019

filling test tubes with pink liquid
Jutta Schickore
Morrison Hall 228
Days and Times
02:30P-05:00P T
Course Description

Topic: How science really works: Historical and philosophical perspectives on scientific method

Scientific knowledge is often taken to be reliable because it arises from the use of “the scientific method”. But it is by no means easy to explicate what “the scientific method” is and what the distinct rules and procedures are that make the pursuit of knowledge scientific. This course introduces students to philosophical and historical debates about scientific methods. We will begin with the history of the concept “scientific method” itself: when and why did it emerge, what roles did it play in science, and how did it change over time? We then follow key debates about the idea of scientific method. We trace debates about questions such as:Is there one distinctive “scientific method” in science, are there many methods, or should we be skeptics about method? Are there methods of discovery? What role should the method of hypothesis play in science? The last part of the course will focus on specific methodological issues related to experimental research. We will examine historical and philosophical aspects of experimental control, replication, negative results, risk, and failure.

Class #31740

3 credits

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