Scientific Knowledge & Scientific Method

Course code PHIL3070Units 10Level 3000Faculty of Education and ArtsSchool of Humanities and Social Science

Introduces the nature of scientific method and the grounds of scientific knowledge as expressions of scientific rationality for both science and humanities students.

Available in 2015

Callaghan CampusSemester 2
Previously offered in 2014
Objectives(1) to give students a knowledge of the nature and basic principles of rational scientific method and knowledge claims.

(2) to impart to students the skills required for them to be able to engage in critical assessment of scientific practice and in evaluation of scientific knowledge.

(3) to enable students to effectively communicate their understanding and to interact effectively so as to problem solve with diverse communal groups.

(4) to provide students a critical appreciation of the larger framework of Western science as it has developed in relation to society and within which current science practice operates.
ContentThe course covers the nature of rationally valid argument and its application to scientific method as prediction/explanation, its inadequacy for theory construction and the consequent problems of rational methodology, including induction and statistical inference. It then places these issues in the larger debate about the nature of observation, the multiple aims of science, and economic and socio-cultural influence on theoretical ideas and procedures, and the various proposals made in the light of these concerning the nature of scientific knowledge and objectivity claims.
Replacing Course(s)n/a
Industrial Experience0
Assumed KnowledgeAt least 10 credit points of PHIL course at 1000 level or 40 units of any other courses at any level.
Modes of DeliveryInternal Mode
Teaching MethodsLecture
Assessment Items
Essays / Written AssignmentsAssessment for PHIL3070 will be by written work which will be individually structured to suit the subject matter. It will normally be by 2 essays, one of 2000 words, 40%, the other of 3000 words, 60%, but this may be varied to include more frequent, smaller case studies, summaries and the like earlier on, to equivalent value, as the subject matter requires. These essays will require the student to explain the central concepts, principles and arguments of the material studied, guided by the assigned readings and seminar discussions, the latter providing continual assessment and feedback on individual student ability to properly engage the subject matter.
Contact HoursLecture: for 2 hour(s) per Week for Full Term
Timetables2015 Course Timetables for PHIL3070