Scientific Realism and Anti-Realism

Subject 136-536 (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 2, - 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: A 2-hour seminar per week
Total Time Commitment: Not available
Prerequisites: Usually admission to the postgraduate diploma or fourth-year honours or a postgraduate coursework program.
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Assoc Prof Howard Sankey
Subject Overview:

In this subject students will examine the current trend toward naturalistic approaches to methodological, epistemological and metaphysical issues in modern philosophy of science. Much recent philosophy of science has been characterised by an opposition between realist advocates of the objectivity of science and a variety of cognitive relativist positions which deny such objectivity. However a separate, naturalistic tendency in the philosophy of science promises to transcend the opposition between realism and relativism. On completion of this subject students should have a grasp of the history of and differences between realist and relativist approaches to the philosophy of science and should understand the implications of the naturalistic approach.

Assessment: A 5000-word research essay 100% (due at the end of semester).
Prescribed Texts: Prescribed Texts:A subject reader will be available for purchase from the University Bookshop.
Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • have experience of thinking systematically about difficult problems of an abstract nature;

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


Formerly available as 136-510, 136-638, 136-348 and 136-048. Students who have completed 136-510, 136-638, 136-348 or 136-048 are not eligible to enrol in this subject.

Related Course(s): M.A.History & Philosophy of Science (Advanced Seminars & Shorter Thesis)
Master of Arts (Science, Communication and Society)
Postgraduate Certificate in Arts (History and Philosophy of Science)
Postgraduate Certificate in Arts (Philosophy)
Postgraduate Diploma in Arts (History & Philosophy of Science)
Postgraduate Diploma in Arts (Philosophy)

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