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2008/09 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

HPSC2201 Progress and Revolutions in Science

20 creditsClass Size: 100

In light of the effect of COVID-19 and lockdown restrictions on students' learning experiences, the School of PRHS have made the decision to modify assessment in Semester 2 modules in the 2020-21 academic year. Changes may involve reducing the number of assessment points (e.g. assessing one essay rather than two) or reducing word counts where it is possible to do so whilst protecting the integrity of the module's Learning Outcomes. Information on any changes to assessment is available to enrolled students in the Minerva module area, and can also be sought from the module leader or the PRHS SES team.

Module manager: Juha Saatsi
Email: J.T.Saatsi@leeds.ac.uk

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2008/09

Pre-requisite qualifications

HPSC1200 How Science Works or
PHIL1001 Introduction to Philosophy or
PHIL1004 Introduction to the History of Philosophy or
PHIL1008 Introduction to Logic

Module replaces

HPSC2320 Progress and Revolutions in Science

This module is approved as an Elective

Module summary

The idea of progress is supposedly one of the defining characteristics of modern science. On the other hand, science is also subject to major upheavals or revolutions. How are these two features to be reconciled? In this module we look at different views of progress and the accumulation of scientific knowledge. We also examine different accounts of the nature and role of scientific revolutions, trying to isolate their central features. Some philosophers have argued that the meaning of scientific terms is different on either side of a revolution and hence there can be no progress. Others have responded that what is referred to by these terms remains the same and progress can be established on this basis. Drawing on examples from different branches of science we shall discuss those aspects of theories that are retained through upheaval and consider whether they are cumulative in the appropriate sense. In this way we shall try to answer the question, in what sense is there progress in science? For more details contact Steven French

Objectives

On completion of this module students should be able to describe and critically assess:

a) 'cumulative' accounts of scientific progress in general;
b) Kuhn's analysis of the structure of scientific revolutions;
c) responses to Kuhn's analysis and further developments;
d) alternative accounts of scientific progress.

Syllabus

i) The Cumulative View of Scientific Progress
The notion of progress in general; the General Correspondence Principle.

ii) The Structure of Scientific Revolutions
The nature of 'normal' science; the nature and role of 'paradigms'; the structure of scientific revolutions; incommensurability, natural kinds and 'different worlds'.

iii) Accomodating Revolutions I
Lakatos and the 'Methodology of Scientific Research Programmes'; hard cores and heuristics; Feyerabend's critique; Laudan's 'Reticulated Model'; the inter-relationships between aims, methodology and theories; Worrall's critique.

iv) Accomodating Revolutions II
Incommensurability and meaning; the causal theory of reference; progress, revolutions and realism.

Teaching methods

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Lecture161.0016.00
Tutorial41.004.00
Private study hours180.00
Total Contact hours20.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

6 hours reading and preparing per lecture: 96 hours;
6 hours reading and preparing per tutorial: 24 hours;
Essay preparation: 30 hours;
Exam revision: 30 hours.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

1 x 1500 word essay to be submitted mid-semester and returned with comments.

Methods of assessment

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information


Coursework
Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay2,000 words50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)50.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated


Exams
Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)2 hr 00 mins50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)50.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 20/10/2008

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