Michaelmas Term

Wk Date Topic Reading Due Coursework
1 Oct 06 Philosophy of Science Lecture 1
Okasha, "What is science?"
SAQ 01-03 (submit below)
2 Oct 13 Radical empiricism Lecture 2
Ayer, "The Elimination of Metaphysics" (old poorly-edited version)
Optional: Godfrey-Smith, "Logic plus empiricism"
SAQ 04-06 (submit below)
3 Oct 20 Scientific Theories Lecture 3
Craver, "Structure of Scientific Theories"
Optional: Halvorson, "What Scientific Theories Could Not Be" (you may also be interested in the follow-up debate here and here), Frigg, "Models in Science"
SAQ 07-09 (submit below)
4 Oct 27 Theory Change 1: Revolutions Lecture 4
Kuhn, "Revolutions as Changes of World View"
Optional: Kuhn, The structure of scientific revolutions, Norton, "Epistemic Virtues and Epistemic Values: A Skeptical Critique"
SAQ 10-12 (submit below)
5 Nov 03 Theory Change 2: Research Programmes Lecture 5
Lakatos, "History of science and its rational reconstructions"
Optional: Lakatos, "Critiism and the methodology of scientific research"
SAQ 13-15 (submit below)
6 Nov 10 Scientific Realism Lecture 6 part 1 and Part 2
Devitt, "Realism/Anti-Realism"
Optional: Psillos, "Resisting the pessimistic induction"
SAQ 16-18
Essay 1 (submit online below before 1pm)
7 Nov 17 Idealization Lecture 7
Ladyman, "Idealization," and Norton, "Approximation and Idealization"
Optional: Batterman, "Asymptotic Reasoning"
SAQ 19-21 (submit below)
8 Nov 24 Laws of nature Lecture 8
Chalmers, "Why should the world obey laws?"
Optional: Roberts, "There are no laws in the social sciences"
SAQ 22-24 (submit below)
9 Dec 01 Reduction Lecture 9
Cartwright, "Fundamentalism vs the Patchwork of Laws" and Hoefer, "For Fundamentalism"
Optional: Findlay-Hendry, excerpt from "Chemistry"
SAQ 25-27 (submit below)
10 Dec 08 Probability Lecture 10
Galavotti, "Probability" and Gillies, "Varieties of Propensity"
Optional: Hájek, "Interpretations of Probability" and van Fraassen, "Relative Frequencies"
SAQ 28-30 (submit below)
Essay 2 Due before FRIDAY, Dec 12 before 5pm. (Submit online below.)

Lent Term

Wk Date Topic Reading Due Coursework
11 Jan 12 Confirmation 1: Thought experiments Lecture 11
Norton, "Why thought experiments do not transcend empiricism"
Optional: Brown, "Why thought experiments transcend empiricism"
SAQ 31-33 (submit below)
12 Jan 19 Confirmation 2: Hypothetico-Deductive Lecture 12
Sankey, "Scientific Method"
Optional: Duhem, "Physical Theory and Experiment"
SAQ 34-36 (submit below)
13 Jan 26 Confirmation 3: Probabilistic Lecture 13
Norton, "A material theory of induction"
Optional: Worrall, "Philosophy of Science: Classic Debates, Standard Problems, Future Prospects"
SAQ 37-39 (submit below)
14 Feb 02 Explanation Lecture 14
Woodward, "Explanation"
Optional: Earman, "The SAP Also Rises: A Critical Examination of the Anthropic Principle"
SAQ 40-42 (submit below)
15 Feb 09 Representation Lecture 15
van Fraassen, "Representation Of, Representation As"
Optional: Wigner, "The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences", Frigg, "Scientific representation and the semantic view of theories", Suarez, "Scientific Representation"
SAQ 43-45 (submit below)
16 Feb 16 Causation Lecture 16
Hitchcock, "Causation" and Norton, "Causation as Folk Science"
Optional: Dowe, "Causes are Physically Connected to their Effects: Why Preventers and Omissions are not Causes"
SAQ 46-48 (submit below)
Essay 3
Due Fri 20 Feb by 5pm (submit online below)
17 Feb 23 Interpreting Physics Lecture 17
Ruetsche, "Exegesis Saves: Interpreting Physical Theories"
Optional: Halvorson, "Ruetsche on the pristine and adulterated in quantum field theory"
SAQ 49-51 (submit below)
18 Mar 02 Biology: What Is Life?
Guest Lecture by Dr. Jonathan Birch
Lecture 18 Slides / Handout
Sagan, "Definitions of Life" and Mullen, "Forming a Definition for Life: Interview with Gerald Joyce"
Optional: Bedau, "Four puzzles about life"
SAQ 52-54 (submit below)
19 Mar 09 Medicine: On Death Lecture 19
McMahan, "Death, Brain Death, and Persistent Vegetative State"
Optional: Pence, "Comas (Excerpt)"
SAQ 55-57 (submit below)
20 Mar 16 Psychology Lecture 20
Woodward and Cowie, "The mind is not (just) a system of modules shaped (just) by natural selection"
Optional: Caruthers, "The mind is a system of modules shaped by natural selection"
SAQ 58-60 (submit below)
Essay 4
Due Mon 23 Mar by 5pm (submit online below)