Due 10 Nov 2014 by 1pm
In a 1,500 word essay, state and argue for a thesis that 1) draws on our courses material, and 2) gives a specific answer to one of the following questions.
1. What is the role of prediction and experiment in science?
2. Which statements are meaningful in science and philosophy?
3. What structural properties make a theory scientific?
4. How can one characterise the way theories change in science?
Giving a specific answer
A "specific answer" means that the thesis you state must not try to answer these questions in their full generality, but should rather express a very specific view. For example, you can answer a specific question from the following list, or pose and answer a specific question of your own within the scope of the instructions above.
- Are predictions necessary or sufficient for good science?
- Is falsifiability a necessary or sufficient feature of a scientific claim?
- Is the verifiability criterion a reasonable restriction on meaning in philosophy or science?
- Are scientists studying the same world before a major discovery as they are after?
- Do negative or positive heuristics explain how science can make progress?
State a clear thesis that answers one of the questions. Your job in this essay is to construct a valid philosophical argument for a clear thesis in 1,500 words.
The principle thing that you will be evaluated on in this essay is the argument for your thesis. Everything that you write should go toward supporting this argument; nothing more and nothing less.
It is recommended that your essay be organised so as to include:
- A brief Introduction in which you state your thesis;
- Relevant background material if necessary for understanding your claim;
- A main body in which you state and argue for your thesis;
- (Optional) Further discussion such as the discussion of possible objections to your argument;
- A brief conclusion in which you summarise the argument of your essay.
Essays are evaluated on the basis of the thesis and the argument. Some of the specific features of your thesis and argument that will be considered include:
- Expression and style
- Structure and organisation
- Understanding and use of literature
- Quality of argument
- Independence of thought