20th Century Philosophy of Science
Philosophy of science is a philosophical discipline that began developing during the 20th century, mostly as a result of questions raised during the second half of the 19th century. To some, philosophy of science constitutes the replacement of traditional epistemology, whereas to others it is a new discipline in its own right. The development of philosophy of science has been marked by radically different views on the possibility of gaining knowledge about the world. Reality, knowledge and perception are certainly keywords that permeate discussions throughout different branches of philosophy of science. Philosophy of science and ontology are closely related fields of philosophical research today. This has become quite clear in the philosophy of biology for example; as a relatively new field of research within philosophy of science, the challenges it poses to ontology are no less than stunning.
The course will survey the development of the philosophy of science during 20th century, focusing on empiricism and the challenges thereto. One of the main issues discussed will be the development of philosophy of science as reflected by ongoing debates regarding realism. We will also analyze the ontological role of observation and the importance of prediction to scientific enterprise.
Various aspects of the relation between philosophy of science and biology will also be debated. The course will end with a workshop on the philosophy of biology.
The list of authors examined includes Carnap, Popper, Kuhn, Quine, Musgrave, Lakatos, Fine, Stroud, van Fraassen, Ruse and Godfrey-Smith.
P. Godfrey-Smith (2003) Theory and Reality. An Introduction to the Philosophy of Science. Chicago University Press.
A one-day informal workshop on the philosophy of biology will be organized on 29 September.
2 papers (one long, one short) and a class presentation.
mathias.brochhausen at ifomis.uni-saarland.de