PHIL 3550: Philosophy of Science
Course Description: Science appears to be extraordinarily successful is two crucial respects. First, science apparently serves as an extremely reliable vehicle for arriving at the truth (as contrasted with astrology or palm reading). Second, the methodology of science seems eminently rational (again as opposed to the methodologies of astrology or palm reading). Philosophers have been quite interested in these two apparent virtues of science. Some philosophers think that the two virtues are illusory and that, upon reflection, science is not significantly superior to astrology or palm reading. Some philosophers even reject concepts like truth and rationality as somehow bogus or illegitimate. Our basic goal in this course is to survey 20th century philosophy of science as centered upon such disputes. To this end, our focus will be upon the following question: are truth and rationality genuine features of scientific inquiry, or are they mere illusions?