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2018/19 Undergraduate Module Catalogue
PHIL2402 Topics in Epistemology: Theory and Evidence
20 creditsClass Size: 88
Module manager: Dr Ed Elliott
Taught: Semester 2 View Timetable
Year running 2018/19
Pre-requisite qualificationsEither PHIL 1250; or PHIL 1109; or PHIL 1111 and PHIL 1222.
This module is mutually exclusive with
|HPSC2402||Phil of Inductive Reasoning|
|HPSC2403||Intro Phil Inductive Reasoning|
Module replacesHPSC2402: Philosophy of Inductive Reasoning
This module is not approved as a discovery module
Module summaryThis module concerns a central topic in epistemology that also has significant practical importance: theories should be supported by evidence. But what is evidence, exactly, and how does it relate to the theory it’s supposed to support?Here are examples of the types of questions and issues tackled in this module:How does a set of observations confirm one hypothesis over another? What is philosophically problematic about inductive reasoning in everyday life or in science? How should we understand probabilistic and statistical reasoning fromevidence? How should we understand the notion of probability? Is there a one-size‐fits‐all answer to the question of how theories and evidence are related? How are facts about what causes what, and what explains what, relevant to assessing evidence given in support of a theory?This module will not presuppose any technical or scientific background. It is suitable for anyone with an interest in how science expands our knowledge of the world.
ObjectivesOn completion of this module, students should be able to critically discuss a
variety of issues concerning the relationship between a theory and its evidence.
Possible topics include:
1) inductive and causal argument;
2) confirmation theory and problems of induction;
3) the nature of probability and statistical reasoning;
4) the nature of causal reasoning and the role of explanation in inductive
On successful completion of this module a student will have knowledge of a range of philosophical issues concerning the relationship between theories and observations, induction, probability and its role in reasoning, the nature of confirmation and evidence.
The module will cover a selection of issues central to epistemology and the philosophy of science, drawn from topics such as the following:
a) Different kinds of inductive arguments and inductive fallacies; causal reasoning and Mill's methods
b) Hume's problem of induction and various responses to it; Goodman's new problem of induction and various responses to it
c) Probabilistic reasoning and interpretation of probability; elementary decision theory; fallacies in probabilistic and statistical reasoning; Bayesianism
d) Confirmation theory and paradoxes of confirmation; Hypothetico‐deductive view and its problems; Duhem‐Quine problem; Inference to the best explanation
|Delivery type||Number||Length hours||Student hours|
|Private study hours||181.00|
|Total Contact hours||19.00|
|Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)||200.00|
Private studyPrivate study comprises:
6 hours reading per lecture: 66 hours;
6 hours reading and preparing for tutorials: 48 hours;
Writing entries to an assessed group Wiki: 30 hours;
Exam revision: 30 hours.
Opportunities for Formative FeedbackFeedback through the wiki assessment or the mid-semester essay.
Methods of assessment
|Assessment type||Notes||% of formal assessment|
|Essay||1,500 word essay||50.00|
|Essay||1,500 word essay||50.00|
|Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)||100.00|
Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated
Reading listThere is no reading list for this module
Last updated: 02/01/2019
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