2019/20 Undergraduate Module Catalogue
PHIL3865 Philosophy of the Social Sciences
20 creditsClass Size: 65
Module manager: Dr Callum Duguid
Taught: Semester 2 View Timetable
Year running 2019/20
Pre-requisite qualifications40 credits of Level 2 philosophy modules
This module is mutually exclusive with
Module replacesPHIL3201 Realism and Representation in Science
This module is not approved as a discovery module
Module summaryThe social sciences aim to understand various social phenomena involving the actions of individual human beings, the patterns of group behaviour, the nature of social institutions and the role of norms. What kind of understanding do the social sciences provide? How do they explain? Hoe do the social sciences differ from the natural sciences? What is the relationship between individuals and larger social structures? Do social structures exist over and above individuals? Is social science value-laden in a different way or to a different degree than natural science? This module looks at some of these issues in the philosophical of the social sciences, using a range of accessible examples.
ObjectivesOn successful ompletion of this module, students should have developed a critical understanding of the philosophical issues concerning the nature and status of the social sciences and the explanation they provide.
On successful completion of this module students will have knowledge of a range of issues in the philosophy of social sciences and ability to critically engage with those issues.
Ability to apply philosophical methods to specific social sciences
The specific syllabus may vary from each to year, but topics will include a selection from the following:
• Are there laws in the social sciences?
• The nature of social scientific explanations
• Scientific modelling in the social sciences
• Causation and mechanisms on the social sciences
• The role of social values in science
• Philosophy of rational choice theory
• Scientific realism in the context of the social sciences
|Delivery type||Number||Length hours||Student hours|
|Private study hours||182.00|
|Total Contact hours||18.00|
|Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)||200.00|
Students are required to prepare for each tutorial by completing a set reading and question-set, as well as researching recommended secondary source material.
Opportunities for Formative FeedbackFour blog posts (only one of which contributes to final mark) during course of the module.
Methods of assessment
|Assessment type||Notes||% of formal assessment|
|Reflective log||500-word blog post(from 4)||40.00|
|Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)||100.00|
Resits take exactly the same forms as original assessments
Reading listThe reading list is available from the Library website
Last updated: 20/05/2019
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