Science, Reason and Reality

Subject 136-033 (2008)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2008.Search for this in the current handbookSearch for this in the current handbook

Credit Points: 12.500
Level: Undergraduate
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2008:

Semester 1, - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable


Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: Between 10-12 weekly tutorials and between 20-24 lectures, normally two per week
Total Time Commitment: *
Prerequisites: Usually 75 points of first year study across any discipline areas.
Corequisites: *
Recommended Background Knowledge: *
Non Allowed Subjects: Formerly available as 136-202/302. Students who have completed 136-202 or 136-302 Science, Reason and Reality are not eligible to enrol in this subject.
Core Participation Requirements: *


Assoc Prof Howard Sankey
Subject Overview:

This subject addresses some of the central issues in the philosophy of science. It will raise questions such as: What is the difference between science and non-science? Is there a universal scientific method? Or do the methods employed by scientists vary historically? Is scientific theory change a rational process? Is science objective? Do scientific theories inform us of the truth about the world? Students who take this class will have knowledge of the major themes of recent and contemporary philosophical thinking about science. They will also have experience of the methods of critical analysis and argument employed in the philosophy of science and a background on which to base further study in the area.

Assessment: Written work totalling 4000 words comprising a 1500-word essay 30% (due mid-semester) and a 2500-word essay 70% (due at the end of semester).
Prescribed Texts: What is This Thing Called Science? (A Chalmers) Philosophy of Science: The Central Issues (M Curd & J A Cover) Representing and Intervening (I Hacking)
Recommended Texts: *
Breadth Options: This subject is a level 2 or level 3 subject and is not available to new generation degree students as a breadth option in 2008.
This subject or an equivalent will be available as breadth in the future.
Breadth subjects are currently being developed and these existing subject details can be used as guide to the type of options that might be available.
2009 subjects to be offered as breadth will be finalised before re-enrolment for 2009 starts in early October.
Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • have experience of thinking systematically about difficult intellectual problems of an abstract nature;

  • have practice conducting research, speaking articulately, writing clearly and reading with attention to detail.


Students enrolled in the BSc (pre-2008 BSc), or a combined BSc course (except for the BA/BSc) will receive science credit for the completion of this subject.

Related Course(s): Bachelor of Arts
Diploma in Arts (History and Philosophy of Science
Diploma in Arts (Philosophy)
Diploma in Arts (Philosophy)
Graduate Certificate in Arts (History & Philosophy of Science)
Graduate Diploma in Arts (History and Philosophy of Science)
Graduate Diploma in Arts (Logic and Philosophy of Science)

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