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PH214 - Philosophy of Science

  • Module code: PH214
  • Module name: Philosophy of Science
  • Department: Philosophy
  • Credit: 15

Content and teaching | Assessment | Availability

Module content and teaching

Principal aims

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?

Principal learning outcomes

By the end of this module, students should have an understanding of some of the key concepts, positions and debates in contemporary philosophy of science, and grasp some of the general epistemological and metaphysical issues to which they relate. They should also be able to analyse specific arguments in the philosophy of science and come to their own critical views of their merits.

Timetabled teaching activities

Teaching will normally comprise a 1 hour lecture and 1 hour seminar per week over the course of one term.

Departmental link

Other essential notes

Please note that attendance at both lectures and seminars and completion of any unasssessed or required work is a requirement of this module

Module assessment

Assessment group Assessment name Percentage
15 CATS (Module code: PH214-15)
A1 (Assessed work only) Assessed Course Work 15%
Assessed Course Work 85%
Assessed Course Work 100%

Module availability

This module is available on the following courses:



Optional Core


  • Undergraduate Mathematics and Philosophy with Intercalated Year (GV18) - Year 2
  • Undergraduate Philosophy (wiith Intercalated year) (V701) - Year 2
  • Undergraduate Philosophy with Computer Science (V7G5) - Year 2
  • Undergraduate Philosophy with Computer Science (V7G5) - Year 3
  • Undergraduate Philosophy, Politics and Economics (V7ML) - Year 3
  • Undergraduate Philosophy and Literature with Intercalated Year (VQ73) - Year 2