Philosophy of Science


Course Objective

• Students acquire knowledge of and insight in core issues, concepts,
and problems in philosophy of (social) science.
• Students acquire the skills critically to evaluate theories and
positions in debates in the philosophy of (social) science.
• Students learn to apply insights and ideas from the philosophy of
science to assess and evaluate broader debates about the role of science
in society.
• Students develop their oral and written presentation and argumentation
skills further.

Course Content

This course provides an overview of core issues in the philosophy of
science and social science, such as the demarcation problem, the nature
of induction and confirmation, scientific explanation and understanding,
the value-free ideal, the responsibilities of scientists, and the limits
of science. Students will examine case studies
to assess the reception and concrete implementation of scientific ideas
in a social context.

Teaching Methods

Lectures and seminars (active learning groups)

Method of Assessment

Written exam (60%), three assignments (40%), and in-class participation
and presentations (pass/fail).


The primary course materials will be a selection of articles/book

In addition, students are expected to use any of the following four
textbooks as background reading:

• Lisa Bortolotti, An Introduction to the Philosophy of Science
(Chichester: Polity, 2008);
• Peter Godfrey-Smith, Theory and Reality: An Introduction to the
Philosophy of Science (Chicago: U of Chicago Press, 2003);
• Samir Okasha, Philosophy of Science: A Very Short Introduction
(Oxford: Oxford UP, 2002); or
• Alex Rosenberg, Philosophy of Science: A Contemporary Introduction,
2nd ed. (London: Routledge, 2005).

Target Audience

Second year PPE students

Additional Information

Please note that participation in the seminars is mandatory.

Custom Course Registration

There is a slightly different enrollment procedure for this module. The standard procedure of the Faculty of Humanities has students sign up for (i) the module, (ii) the form of tuition (lecture and/or preferred seminar group), and (iii) the exam. However, for this module the instructor will assign the students to the seminar groups. Therefore, students should sign up for (i) the module, (ii) lecture and (iii) the exam, but not for the seminar groups.

General Information

Course Code W_JSM_201
Credits 6 EC
Period P1
Course Level 200
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Humanities
Course Coordinator prof. dr. ir. G.J. de Ridder
Examiner prof. dr. ir. G.J. de Ridder
Teaching Staff prof. dr. ir. G.J. de Ridder

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.

Teaching Methods Lecture, Seminar*

*You cannot select a group yourself for this teaching method, you will be placed in a group.

Target audiences

This course is also available as: