PHIL 371: Philosophy of Natural Sciences

PHIL 371-001: Philosophy of Natural Sciences
(Fall 2021)

10:30 AM to 11:45 AM TR

Horizon Hall 5001

Section Information for Fall 2021

This course addresses a variety of philosophical issues arising from a close scrutiny of the natural sciences. It examines classic topics in the philosophy of science, such as induction, confirmation, falsification, and demarcation, as well as more contemporary debates pertaining to naturalism, realism, explanation, and evidence. It also reflects on how the field of philosophy of science itself has developed over the past one hundred years, exploring the ways in which our understanding of science—what it is, how it works, and how it progresses—has changed over time.

Aside from these core issues in general philosophy of science, the course considers major themes arising in the philosophical analysis of particular natural sciences, namely physics and biology. In the philosophy of physics, it looks at motion and inertia, relativity, reduction and irreversibility, and the interpretation of quantum mechanics. In the philosophy of biology, it looks at natural selection, function and adaptation, species and classification, and the concept of the gene.




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Course Information from the University Catalog

Credits: 3

One semester of logic recommended. Study of aims and methodology of science. Among the questions of concern are: What constitutes a good scientific explanation? What grounds are used for comparing rival theories? Is there a special method of scientific discovery? Limited to three attempts.
Recommended Prerequisite: 3 hours of philosophy or permission of instructor.
Schedule Type: Lecture
This course is graded on the Undergraduate Regular scale.

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