Philosophy of science

lfilo1220  2019-2020  Louvain-la-Neuve

Philosophy of science
Note from June 29, 2020
Although we do not yet know how long the social distancing related to the Covid-19 pandemic will last, and regardless of the changes that had to be made in the evaluation of the June 2020 session in relation to what is provided for in this learning unit description, new learnig unit evaluation methods may still be adopted by the teachers; details of these methods have been - or will be - communicated to the students by the teachers, as soon as possible.
5 credits
45.0 h
Sartenaer Olivier;
Main themes
The aim of this course is to provide students with a first introduction to contemporary philosophy of science. There will be special focus on discovering the convergences, but also the differences, between the philosophy of material sciences, the philosophy of life sciences and the philosophy of the humanities and social science. The problem of the link between techno-science and society, including the important issue of ecology, will also be examined.
The multi-disciplinary topics covered in Philosophy of Science will include the epistemic status of scientific theories and models, the dynamics of science, the range and limits of scientific knowledge, the theory of scientific explanation, reductionism, the role of objectives, naturalism and the issue of objectivity or axiological neutrality. The multi-disciplinary topics covered in science-society will include modernity-religion and science-expertise-ecology.

At the end of this learning unit, the student is able to :

1 By the end of the course, students should be familiar with the main issues and authors in the philosophy of science. They should be able to present a summary of an issue with clarity and precision in speaking or in writing. They will both be able to construct a rigorous argument in favour of the points of view covered and to adopt critical distance from them. They will be able to find their way around the literature of philosophy of science.

The contribution of this Teaching Unit to the development and command of the skills and learning outcomes of the programme(s) can be accessed at the end of this sheet, in the section entitled “Programmes/courses offering this Teaching Unit”.
The aim of this course is to provide students with a first introduction to contemporary philosophy of science, by surveying the main current topics in metaphysics and epistemology of science. 
Some of these topics include the relationship between philosophy and the sciences, scientific realism, the demarcation between science and pseudoscience, the historical development of science, the possible modes of relation between scientific fields, causation, laws of nature and reductionism.
Some of the core philosophical issues of sub-disciplines like philosophy of physics, chemistry, biology or cognitive science will also be addressed.
Teaching methods
Teaching will mainly be made ex cathedra. Systematic comparisons between approaches and
views will be the course’s privileged method.
Given the number of authors and approaches, students will be expected to prepare themselves through preliminary readings.
Their participation to discussions in the classroom will also be important.
Evaluation methods
Written exam.
Les différentes ressources bibliographiques seront postées en accès restreint sur la page Moodle
du cours.
Teaching materials
  • Outre les ressources bibliographiques, des résumés synthétiques des séances seront rendus disponibles via Moodle.
Faculty or entity

Programmes / formations proposant cette unité d'enseignement (UE)

Title of the programme
Certificat universitaire en philosophie (fondements)

Master [120] in Public Administration

Bachelor in Philosophy, Politics and Economics

Bachelor in Philosophy

Minor in Philosophy