Faculty of Arts

PHIL 260

Philosophy of Science


The picture we learn in school of “the scientific method” tends to greatly simplify what science is, how it works and the logic of how we learn from it. The philosophy of science is concerned with developing a deep understanding of all of those points.

In this course we will examine questions like the following: What distinguishes science from “pseudoscience?” How does science explain the world? Is the ultimate goal of science to uncover laws of nature? Why should we feel licensed to believe in things we cannot directly observe? Do scientific theories give us literally true accounts of how the world is, or are they just useful tools for predicting and making sense of things?  

We will study these questions, and others, by discussing influential philosophical accounts of science and examining cases from historical and contemporary scientific research. Science majors are encouraged to take this course; however, no particular background in science is assumed or expected.

 A particular focus in this course is on honing your critical thinking, reasoning and writing skills, with an emphasis on writing concisely about complex, interdisciplinary topics.

Assessment: Coursework only

Availability 2020

Not offered in 2020; planned for 2021


Lecturer(s) Dr Emily Parke


PHIL 260: 15.0 points


30 points in Philosophy or 60 points


PHIL 360

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