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Semester 1

Science, Nature, and Social Values (PHIL10171)







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**Spaces on Philosophy Honours courses are extremely limited, and so priority is given to visiting students coming through a direct exchange with the Philosophy department (including Erasmus students on a Philosophy Exchange). Exchange students outside of Philosophy and independent study abroad students cannot be guaranteed enrolment in ANY 3rd/4th year Philosophy courses** Please note that 3rd year Philosophy courses are high-demand, meaning that they have a very high number of students wishing to enrol in a very limited number of spaces. These enrolments are managed strictly by the Visiting Student Office, in line with the quotas allocated by the department, and all enquiries to enrol in these courses must be made through the CAHSS Visiting Student Office. It is not appropriate for students to contact the department directly to request additional spaces. If there is sufficient space for other visiting students to enrol at the start of the semester, visiting students must have completed at least 3 Philosophy courses at grade B or above to qualify for this course; we will only consider University/College level courses.

Course Summary

The course, consisting of lectures and seminars, addresses some central issues in contemporary philosophy of science. How does science represent nature? And to what extent do social values and human interests enter into the scientific image? Looking at the debate on natural kinds (across the physical, life and social sciences), but also at long-standing controversies on the nature of causation and laws of nature, this course explores the extent to which scientific investigation of nature might (or might not) be shaped by us as human agents with specific values and interests.

Course Description

Scientific research always rests on a conception of the natural world, and these have changed throughout the history of science, being influenced by human cultures, economic conditions, and values. In this course we will examine a range ideas of nature that have been influential in the history of science and have been presented and debated by philosophers. We will consider both the ethical and aesthetic values that have shaped scientific ideas of nature, and the way that philosophers reflections on science have contributed to debates around values and the natural world. Though the focus of this course is historical, it has much relevance to current environmental concerns.

Assessment Information

Written Exam 0%, Coursework 100%, Practical Exam 0%

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