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Cursus: 201400573
Philosophy of science in practice
Cursus informatie
Studiepunten (ECTS)5
Contactpersoondr. K. Karaca
Contactpersoon van de cursus
dr. K. Karaca
dr. K. Karaca
AanmeldingsprocedureZelf aanmelden via OSIRIS Student
Inschrijven via OSIRISJa
This course is open only to students enrolled in the Master PSTS, EE and AM.
In case you, as a student from another master’s programme, want to participate in this course, please contact the PSTS staff: or

This course connects to the final qualifications K1, K2, K3, K5, S1-4 of the program, according to the following learning objectives:
  • Introductory topics in the traditional philosophy of science: (1) epistemological issues: scientific methodology and modes of argumentation in science, scientific explanations, the demarcation problem (Popper); (2) methodological issues: paradigms in science (Kuhn), scientific explanation, realism versus anti-realism.
  • A broad overview in the new field called Philosophy of Science in Practice, both regarding its philosophical topics and methodologies, including models and values in science.
  • Philosophical and practical understanding of the epistemological relationship(s) between scientific research and technological development.

Students will be able to develop the following skills:

Reading skills
  • Analytic & critical reading
  • Understanding technoscientific publications & formulating questions

Argumentation skills
  • Reconstructing and assessing argumentation
Oral communication skills
  • Presenting for an academic audience
  • Formulating critical questions (incl.: answering questions posed by the teacher and other students about presented texts)
  • Use of supportive media (particularly: use of PowerPoint
Research skills
  • How to identify and critically reflect on technoscientific sources (particularly in case students prefer to write on case-studies)
The 1st part of this course dominantly deals with scientific theories which are generally regarded to be the backbone of scientific and technological practices. They consist of mathematical formulas, laws of nature and scientific models, among other things. But where do these formulas, laws, and models come from, what do they represent, how are they justified, and how do we know where to apply them? In aiming at an understanding of the sciences from a philosophy of science perspective (rather than from the social or ethical perspective), this course takes traditional themes in the philosophy of science as its starting point. The central themes that will be discussed include: “What is science?” “What is a scientific explanation?” "What is a scientific methodology" “What are laws of nature?” “What is a scientific model?”, “What are values in science?". In this manner, traditional topics such as the logic of scientific reasoning, the induction problem, the demarcation problem and falsificationism, scientific explanation, truth, scientific revolutions will be addressed

The second part of this course builds on elementary knowledge of the traditional philosophy of science. The approach is a Capita Selecta in the so-called Philosophy of Science in Practice (PSP). The philosophy of science in practice is a relatively new branch on the tree of the philosophy of science. Some salient aspects of its general approach are:
1.       PSP is concerned with not only the acquisition and validation of knowledge, but also with its use. Its concern is not only about how pre-existing knowledge gets applied to practical ends, but also about how knowledge itself is fundamentally shaped by its intended use. PSP aims to build meaningful bridges between the philosophy of science and the newer fields of philosophy of technology and philosophy of medicine; and provide fresh perspectives for the latter fields.
2.       It emphasizes how human artifacts, such as conceptual models and laboratory instruments, mediate between theories and the world. It seeks to elucidate the role that these artifacts play in the shaping of scientific practice.
3.       Its view of scientific practice must not be distorted by lopsided attention to certain areas of science. The traditional focus on fundamental physics is supplemented by attention to other fields such as economics and other social/human sciences, the engineering sciences, and the medical sciences.
4.       In its methodology, it is crucial to have a productive interaction between philosophical reasoning and a study of actual scientific practices, past and present. This provides a strong rationale for history-and-philosophy of science as an integrated discipline, and also for inviting the participation of practicing scientists, engineers and policymakers.
The attractiveness of this new and prolific field is its openness to new philosophical ideas and approaches. Moreover, philosophy of science in practice aims at results that are not only relevant for the philosophical discipline itself, but also for a better understanding these practices from the perspectives of scientists, engineers, policy-makers and many others. The focus of this course will be a better understanding of scientific research in the context of technological applications, with an emphasis on epistemological issues.

Teaching methods:
Lectures, workshops.
Attendance is obligatory  

Introduction Philosophy of Science:
The assessment is based on:
Essay 75%;
Group Reflection Reports + Group Presentations: 25%;

Each component needs to be sufficient (i.e. 5.5. or more)
Enrolment in this course is subject to the following general requirement:
• Student is registered as a PSTS-student (on the basis of a formal decision of the programme’s Admission Committee).
• All other students need formal approval from the PSTS programme staff. Please contact the programme’s study counsellor or programme co-ordinator
Participating study
Master Philosophy of Science, Technology and Soc.
Verplicht materiaal
Course material
Lecture slides (available in Canvas)
Philosophical articles
Students are also expected to search for literature relevant to their final essay
Aanbevolen materiaal


Essay, Group Presentations

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