Knowledge in the Making

Subject HPSC30035 (2015)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2015.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 3 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2015:

Semester 2, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 27-Jul-2015 to 25-Oct-2015
Assessment Period End 20-Nov-2015
Last date to Self-Enrol 07-Aug-2015
Census Date 31-Aug-2015
Last date to Withdraw without fail 25-Sep-2015

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 1 x 2-hour seminar each week for 12 weeks
Total Time Commitment:

170 hours


At least 2 HPS subjects at level 2 or equivalent (in philosophy, sociology or history).

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 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:


Dr Kristian Camilleri


Dr Kristian Camilleri

Subject Overview:

Questions about the nature of knowledge have long been central to both the history and philosophy of science. However, over the past two decades, new studies in HPS and in social and historical epistemology have provided a deeper understanding of the historical conditions under which, and the means with which, scientific knowledge is generated. These studies mark a reorientation away from the traditional preoccupation with scientific theories, towards a historical and philosophical investigation of scientific practice. This subject explores some of the important questions that have emerged from the work of leading scholars in recent years on how scientific knowledge is produced. These include: How have changes in the social and cultural conditions led to the emergence of new 'ways of knowing' and new' thought-styles'? To what extent does scientific research depend on trust between members of the scientific community? How does the laboratory differ form the field as a physical and cultural space in which knowledge is produced? What constitutes a scientific discovery? How do scientists investigage phenomena or objects they don't know much about, or aren't even sure really exist? Can social, political, and ethical values play a legitimate role in scientific inquiry? Does objectivity have a history?

Learning Outcomes:

Students who successfully complete this subject will:

  • become familiar with a range of different historical, philosophical, and sociological approaches to understanding the process of scientific inquiry;
  • develop an appreciation of the social, historical and cultural contexts which shape the construction of scientific knowledge;
  • develop the ability to engage in critical analysis of texts, through synthesizing and distinguishing between, a variety of arguments and ideas;
  • gain the necessary critical acumen and relevant knowledge to be able to engage confidently and intelligently in contemporary debates in the history and philosophy of science;
  • develop an ability to conduct independent critical research at third year level.

Three 600 word assignments, 15% each (due during the semester) and a 2200 word essay, 55% (due at the end of semester)

Hurdle requirement: students must attend a minimum of 80% of the weekly seminars in order to pass this subject. Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalized at 10% per day; after five working days, no late assessment will be marked. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject.

Prescribed Texts:

Subject readings will be available online

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
Links to further information:

This is the Capstone subject for the major in History and Philosophy of science. All students undertaking the major in History and Philosophy of science must enrol in this subject - normally in their final semester of enrolment.

Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: History and Philosophy of Science
History and Philosophy of Science
History and Philosophy of Science
Knowledge and Learning

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