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Philosophy of Science (PH214-15)

Programme content

This module will cover some key questions in contemporary epistemology and metaphysics of science. The epistemological questions will be centered on the notion of scientific explanation: How is explanation different from mere description? Can we give a general account of what explaining a phenomenon consists in? What difference does having an explanation for a phenomenon make to a person? The metaphysical questions we will look at concern mainly the nature of causation and time, and their status within science: To what extent is causation a category recognized by the sciences? What is the difference between causation and mere correlation? What explains the 'arrow of time'? Can there be a scientific explanation of asymmetries in time?

Topics covered

The following is a list of topics for this module in the 2015/16 academic year; precise seminar content may change from year to year.

  • Scientific Explanation – The DN model
  • Laws of Nature
  • Causation: Causal process vs. difference-making approaches
  • Causation and Probability
  • The nature of probability
  • Causation, Agency and the Arrow of Causation
  • The thermodynamic arrow
  • The Nature of Time
  • Time Travel
Timing and CATS

This module will run in the Autumn Term and is worth 15 CATS.