From 2 November 2020, the autumn semester 2020 will take place online. Exceptions: Courses that can only be carried out with on-site presence.
Please note the information provided by the lecturers via e-mail.

701-0701-00L  Philosophy of Science

SemesterSpring Semester 2020
LecturersC. J. Baumberger
Periodicityyearly recurring course
Language of instructionGerman


AbstractThe lecture explores various strands in philosophy of science in a critical way, focusing on the notion of rationality in science, especially with regards to environmental research. It addresses the significance and limits of empirical, mathematical and logical methods, as well as problems and ethical issues raised by the use of science in society.
ObjectiveStudents learn to engage with problems in the philosophy of science and to relate them to natural and environmental sciences, thus developing their skills in critical thinking about science and its use. They know the most important positions in philosophy of science and the objections they face. They can identify, structure and discuss issues raised by the use of science in society.
Content1. Core differences between classical Greek and modern conceptions of science.
2. Classic positions in the philosophy of science in the 20th century: logical empiricism and critical rationalism (Popper); the analysis of scientific concepts and explanations.
3. Objections to logical empiricism and critical rationalism, and further developments: What is the difference between the natural sciences, the social sciences and the arts and humanities? What is progress in science (Kuhn, Fleck, Feyerabend)? Is scientific knowledge relativistic? What is the role of experiments and computer simulations?
4. Issues raised by the use of science in society: The relation between basic and applied research; inter- and transdisciplinarity; ethics and accountability of science.
Lecture notesA reader will be available for students.
LiteratureA list of introductory literature and handbooks will be distributed to the students.
Prerequisites / NoticeOral examination during the session examination.
Further optional exercises accompany the lecture and offer the opportunity for an in-depth discussion of selected texts from the reader. Students receive an additional credit point. They have to sign up separately for the exercises for the course 701-0701-01 U.