(in Polish) Topics in the Philosophy of Science 3501-TPS20-S
The seminar will cover two main areas:
a) The epistemology of scientific theories.
b) The structure of scientific theories.
In the first part, the course will examine epistemological issues surrounding science: the demarcation problem; the problem of induction; the nature of observation; the debate between scientific realism and versions of anti-realism, such as instrumentalism, constructive empiricism and structural realism.
In the second part, the course will examine the structure of scientific theories: How are theories formalized? How is the observation/theory distinction captured? How is the notion of empirical adequacy defined? What is a Ramsey sentence? Does Newman’s objection undermine structural realism? How is mathematics applied in science? Is mathematics indispensable? What consequences does this have for debates about nominalism and mathematical realism?
Type of course
Knowledge: students should demonstrate this knowledge:
- comprehensive knowledge of the main issues arising in relation to the epistemology of scientific theories, their structure and debates about the applicability of mathematics in science.
- the central concepts from mathematical logic used to analyse scientific theories.
- the ideas and arguments of the most prominent philosophers who have worked on these problems.
Skills: students should demonstrate their ability to:
- seek, analyze, evaluate, select, and use information from traditional and electronic sources
- read and interpret research-level papers on philosophy of science and mathematics - ability to analyse these ideas and arguments, identifying their strengths and weakenesses.
- ability to orally present, discuss and criticize these ideas and arguments
Social competence: students should:
- understand the need for constant theoretical reflection and professional development
- be open to new ideas and criticism
- organize workplans effectively
a) One written essay: 95% of overall marks
b) Class participation: 5% of overall marks
The minimum passing grade is 60%.
60% - 3 (sufficient)
68% - 3,5 (satisfactory)
74% - 4 (good)
82% - 4,5 (better than good)
90% - 5 (very good)
95% - 5! (excellent)
6) Number of absences
Students may have two unexcused absences. If one or two additional excused absences occur, extra work may be done as a make-up. Failure to complete said work or more than two unexcused absences will result in failure to complete the class.
Absence does not exempt a student from the work required for satisfactory completion of the course. Merely attending class does not constitute participation. To participate is to arrive at class punctually and to regularly contribute to collegiate discussion. Students’ participation in class will be closely monitored throughout the semester.
 Curd, M., Cover, J.A, & Pincock, C. (eds.). 2012: Philosophy of Science: The Central Issues.
 Psillos, S & Curd, M. (eds) 2013: The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Science.
Epistemology of science
 Popper, K.R. 1962: Conjectures & Refutations.
 Kuhn, T. 1962: The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.
 van Fraassen, B.C. 1980: The Scientific Image.
 Psillos, S. 1998: Scientific Realism.
Logical structure of scientific theories
 Winther, R. 2015: “The Structure of Scientific Theories”. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (online).
 Carus, A. and Leitgeb, H. 2020: “Rudolf Carnap”. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (online).
 Colyvan, M. 2019: “Indispensability Arguments in the Philosophy of Mathematics”. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (online).
 Burgess, J & Rosen, G. 1997: A Subject with No Object.
Separate articles and reading will be selected as the seminar proceeds.
Additional information (registration calendar, class conductors, localization and schedules of classes), might be available in the USOSweb system: