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Philosophy of Natural Sciences I


Admission requirements

Admission to this course is restricted to MA students in Philosophy of a Specific Discipline, specialisation Natural Science.


This course surveys the philosophy of physics and of biology, concentrating on foundational and methodological issues. The guiding theme is ontology: what is the nature of the entities posited and investigated by physics and biology, such as fields and species? How are these entities defined and identified? In what senses are they real, and to what degree are they conventional? How are theoretical entities related to observation? The course combines specialist discussions with a comparative approach.

Course objectives

Course objectives will be posted on Blackboard by the start of the course.


See Timetables Master’s Programmes 2010-2011

Mode of instruction

Depending on the number of enrolments this course will be offered either as a full seminar or as a series of individual tutorial sessions.

Assessment method

To be announced



h3.Reading list

  • Marc Lange, An Introduction to the Philosophy of Physics: Locality, Fields, Energy, and Mass. Oxford: Blackwell, 2002. ISBN 0631225013 (pbk).

  • Kim Sterelny and Paul E. Griffiths, Sex and Death: An Introduction to Philosophy of Biology. Chicago, Ill.: University of Chicago Press, 1999. ISBN 0226773043 (pbk).


To be announced

Contact information

Dr. J.W. McAllister:


Compulsory course for MA students in Philosophy of a Specific Discipline, specialisation Natural Science.