Faculty of Arts

PHIL 750

Philosophy of Science 2

Please note: this is archived course information from 2018 for PHIL 750.


Some concepts in science are (apparently) straightforward: ‘gold’, for example, is a chemical element with 79 protons and a series of other features agreed upon by chemists. Other concepts are more contentious, and scientists argue about how to define, understand, or make use of them: for example, ‘biodiversity’, ‘gene’, ‘intelligence’, ’species’, and ‘complexity’. Many of these concepts lie at the heart of other debates—for example, is there a “gene for intelligence?”—so reaching clarity and consensus on these topics is far from simply a matter of semantics. In this course we will focus on conceptual debates in science, and how philosophers can contribute to them. After some general introductory discussion, we will look in depth at debates surrounding some key concepts in biology: natural selection, Darwinian populations, and life itself. Many of the readings will draw on examples and case studies from biology, but no particular background in biology is assumed.

View the course syllabus

Availability 2018

Semester 2


Coordinator(s) Dr Emily Parke


All course readings will be available on CANVAS 


PHIL 750: 15.0 points

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