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PH123 Course materials 14-15


There is a forum for this module. Please help by posting your questions and/or suggestion to the forum.


Each seminar will focus on one key text in the Philosophy of Science. Each of the texts is available electronically through the library's course extracts collection.

For each week, I will also prepare a reading guide on the set text (also available by following the links above). Please print this out, fill it in, and bring it with you to your seminar. The above links also take you to a list of further readings, which might help you understand the issues and arguments better.

There will be no prescribed textbook, but if you want to purchase a good general introduction to the topics covered in the module, I can recommend either of the following:

  • Peter Godfrey-Smith: Theory and Reality: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Science. Chicago University Press
  • James Ladyman: Understanding Philosophy of Science. Routledge

There is also a very good collection of seminal papers in the Philosophy of Science, which contains versions of some of the papers we'll be discussing as well as helpful commentaries on them:

  • Martin Curd & J.A. Cover: Philosophy of Science: The Central Issues. Norton


Hilary Putnam on Science and Philosophy (They don't make programmes like that any more!)


    Click here for a copy of the lecture handouts so far.

    Exam arrangements

    This module will be examined together with the module PH128 Descartes & Mill in the combined paper PH1ARX. The following details are subject to confirmation.

    Candidates registered for both the modules examined in this paper (PH128 Descartes & Mill and PH123 Elements of Scientific Method) should attempt THREE questions, ONE from each of the sections A, B, and C. Time allowed: 2 hours.

    Candidates registered for only PH123 Elements of Scientific Method should answer ONE question from section C. Time allowed: 1 hour.

    Past versions of the exam paper are available through the library's exam paper archive (but please note that the syllabus for the module has changed slightly over the years). Type 'ph123' into the search engine here.