Science, Reason and Reality (Science 3)

Subject PHIL30004 (2010)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2010.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 3 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2010:

Semester 1, Parkville - 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: 35 contact hours comprising two 1-hour lectures per week for the 12 weeks and a 1-hour tutorial per week beginning week 2.
Total Time Commitment: An average of 8.5 hours each week.
Prerequisites: Two second year HPS subjects
Corequisites: None.
Recommended Background Knowledge: No specific background knowledge is required for enrolment in this subject.
Non Allowed Subjects: This subject was previously available at 3rd year with the code 672-316. Students who have completed 672-316 are not permitted to enrol in this subject.
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering requests for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry.

The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website :


Assoc Prof Howard Sankey


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.

Objectives: Students who successfully complete this subject will:
  • have knowledge of the major ideas and theories of recent and contemporary philosophy of science.
  • have background in the philosophy of science on which to base further research and study in the area.
  • have experience with methods of critical analysis and argument employed in the philosophy of science, leading to improved general reasoning and analytical skills.
Assessment: Written work totalling 6000 words comprising an essay of 1500 words 25% (due mid-semester), an essay of 2000 words 35% (due at the end of semester) and an essay of 2500 words 40% (due at the end of the examination period).
Prescribed Texts:
  • What is This Thing Called Science? (A Chalmers)
  • Philosophy of Science: The Central Issues (M Curd &amp.amp.amp.amp. J A Cover)
  • Representing and Intervening (I Hacking)
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 intellectual problems of an abstract nature.
  • have practice conducting research, speaking articulately, writing clearly and reading with attention to detail.
Notes: For Second Year see 136033. 136033 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 and Philosophy of Science

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