Science, Philosophy and History

Subject 136-105 (2009)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2009. Search for this in the current handbook

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 1 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2009:

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: Two 1-hour lectures and a 1-hour tutorial per week
Total Time Commitment: *
Prerequisites: *
Corequisites: *
Recommended Background Knowledge: *
Non Allowed Subjects: *
Core Participation Requirements: *


Assoc Prof Helen Ruth Verran


Assoc Prof Helen Verran

Subject Overview:

Many philosophical issues and problems arose in the course of twentieth century science. Ranging across the physical, biological, and social sciences we consider the work of a variety of twentieth century scientists and study some of the controversies that surrounded their work. Students completing this subject should better understand that science is a remarkably complex and often beautiful result of an intricate set of forces: conceptual and experimental but also economic, social and individual.

Objectives: Students who successfully complete this subject should:
  • have a better understanding of and an increased ability to systematically think about Science as a result of a complex set of forces: philosophical, experimental as well as economic, social and individual;
  • have a deeper understanding of and an increased ability to systematically think about the nature of science, the concepts of evidence and of scientific progress;
  • have a deeper understanding of and an increased ability to systematically think about the on-going debates about the nature of science and about particular scientific theories;
  • have a deeper understanding of and an increased ability to systematically think about the different views of reason;
  • have experience of thinking systematically about difficult intellectual problems of an abstract nature;
  • have practice conducting research, speaking and writing clearly and reading carefully;
  • have experience with methods of critical analysis and argument employed in the history and philosophy of science, leading to improved general reasoning and analytical skills.

Written work totalling 4000 words comprising weekly tutorial assignments of 2000 words 50% (due throughout the semester). A minimum of six tutorial papers are required to be submitted; and a 2000-word final paper 50% (due during the exam period).

Prescribed Texts:

Prescribed Texts:

A readings On-Line collection will be available

  • What is This Thing Called Science? (Chalmers), (3rd ed)
Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • develop skills in written and oral communication;

  • conduct independent research;

  • make appropriate use of primary and secondary sources in mounting an argument;


Formerly available as 136-031. Students who have completed 136-031 are not eligible to enrol in this subject.

This subject is available for science credit for students enrolled in the BSc (pre-2008 degree only), or a combined BSc course (except for the BA/BSc).

Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: History & Philosophy of Science
History && Philosophy of Science Major
History and Philosophy of Science
History and Philosophy of Science
Logic and Philosophy of Science
Philosophy Major

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