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Studiegids

nl en

Philosophy of Science

Vak
2013-2014

Admission requirements

This course is only available for students in the BA International Studies.

Description

Anyone who works in International Studies must be able to recognize, assess, and combine contributions made by different scientific and academic disciplines to our understanding of a complex reality. To do this, one must have an overview of the outlook and methods of the social sciences and humanities, the ways in which these disciplines engage with their objects, and the forms of knowledge that they produce.

Philosophy of science is the philosophical study of the presuppositions, concepts, methods, and output of the sciences. This course opens with a comparison of the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities: it studies the ways in which these disciplines engage with their objects and the forms of knowledge that they produce. Later, the course examines key issues and problems of present-day philosophy of science. These include observation, theory, explanation, law, falsification, paradigm, and revolution. The course helps students of International Studies recognize, appreciate, and assess contributions made by different scientific and academic disciplines to our understanding of a complex reality

Course objectives

A student successfully completing this course has knowledge of and insight in the following topics:

  • Typical features of the natural sciences, the social sciences, and the humanities; elements of the historical development of these disciplines; characteristics of the methods that they pursue and the knowledge that they yield; the differences between them;

  • Key concepts, issues, and problems in present-day philosophy of science, including observation, induction, theory, explanation, law of nature, falsification, paradigm, and revolution;

  • Some modern debates in philosophy of science concerning the above concepts;

  • The contributions to philosophy of science of some important thinkers, including Karl R. Popper and Thomas S. Kuhn.

A student successfully completing this course has the skills to:

  • Give an account of the similarities and differences between scientific and academic disciplines belonging to the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities;

  • Give an account of the key concepts, issues, and problems listed above, as well as of the debates concerning them and the contributions of the important philosophers of science named above;

  • Choose and motivate views and assessments of his or her own with relation to all the above.

Timetable

The timetable is available on the BA International Studies website.

Mode of instruction

One two hour lecture per week; bi-weekly tutorials.

Attending lectures and tutorials is compulsory. If you are not able to attend a lecture or tutorial, please inform the tutor of the course. Being absent without notification can result in a lower grade or exclusion from the final exam or essay.

Assessment method

The final grade consists of a grade for the tutorials (30%), another for the midterm exam (20%), and a third for the endterm exam (50%). The exams are in the form of multiple choice questions. If the final grade is insufficient (lower than a 6), there is the possibility of retaking the full 70% of the exam material, replacing both the earlier mid- and endterm grades. No resit for the tutorials is possible.

Blackboard

Blackboard will be used. Students are requested to register on Blackboard for this course.

Reading list

A selection of articles and other literature items. Details will be circulated during the course.

Registration

Students are requested to register through uSis, the registration system of Leiden University for this course. General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable

Remarks

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