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Psychology and Science (IBP)


Students of the Dutch bachelor’s programme, see: Psychologie en Wetenschap

Entry requirements



This course offers an introduction to the main concepts and developments within classical epistemology, addressing the question of how knowledge, including scientific knowledge, is established. Considerable attention is also paid to the various forms of reasoning used within (and outside) science, the errors (fallacies) that may occur, and the different ways in which people try to convince others. Attention is also given to examples of fraud in science and ethical considerations concerning participation in experiments.

Course objectives

Knowledge and understanding:

  • Knowledge and understanding of the main ideas on the nature of scientific knowledge.

  • Knowledge and understanding of the way in which science has developed on the basis of historical examples.

  • Knowledge of the main forms of reasoning used within science and beyond.
    Applying knowledge and understanding

  • Basic skills in analysing and understanding types of logical reasoning, and the errors (fallacies) that may occur.

  • Skill in recognising different methods of persuasion (rhetoric).


For the timetables of your lectures, workgroups, and exams, select your study programme.
Psychology timetables

Work group sessions



First year students are automatically enrolled for courses, but do need to register themselves for the exam.

Other students do not only need to register for exams themselves, but also for lectures and work group sessions. For information on registration periods consult the bachelor course registration


Students are not automatically enrolled for an examination. They can register via uSis from 100 to 10 calendar days before the date; students who are not registered will not be permitted to take the examination.

Consult the first year guide in the info for first year students International Bachelor in Psychology

Registering for exams

Mode of instruction

7 2-hour lectures and 4 2-hour work group sessions.

In the first 4 lectures, parts of ‘ What is this thing called Science?’ and ‘ Critical Thinking’ are discussed, in relation to the philosophy of science and logic. The remaining 3 lectures focus on Critical Thinking (in particular with respect to fallacies) and a final lecture is devoted to questions raised by students.

There are 4 work group sessions, running parallel to the first 4 lectures.The work group sessions cover topics from epistemology, along with the logic involved. A work group consists of 1 instructor and a maximum of 24 students (2 tutorial groups combined). Work groups meet weekly on 4 occasions. This means each student attends 4 sessions in total. Attendance is mandatory, and students are graded on it. The work group grade is included in the calculation of the final grade.

Assessment method

The materials to be studied for the examination consist of chapters from the reading list and lecture material, as assigned by the instructor. The examination consists of 40 multiple-choice questions. The grade for the work group sessions is included in the calculation of the final grade. The calculation of the final grade is described in the course work book.

Regulations on grade calculation.

The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences has instituted that instructors use a software programme for the systematic detection of plagiarism in students’ written work. In case of fraud disciplinary actions will be taken. Please see the information concerning fraud.

Reading list

  • Chalmers, A. F. (2013). What is this thing called Science? (4th edition). Open University Press (McGraw-Hill). ISBN (pbk) 0 335 26278-3

  • Moore, B. N. & Parker, R. (2015). Critical Thinking (11th edition). McGraw-Hill. ISBN 978-259-25395-9

  • Course work book for the work group sessions: available via Blackboard.

Contact information