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2008/09 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

HPSC2202 Theories and Observations 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 2 (Jan to Jun) 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

HPSC2330 Theories and Observations in Science

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

What is the relationship between scientific theories, models and the phenomena created in the lab? This will be our focus as we seek to go beyond the influential, but over-simplified, picture of science presented by prominent philosophers and scientists of the early 20th Century, enquiring: How do scientific theories explain? What are laws of nature? How does evidence bear for and against a theory; and how does one come by experimental evidence anyway? What even, in fact, makes a theory scientific?Teaching will be by lectures and tutorials. Pre-requisites are either HPSC 1200 How Science Works, or PHIL 1200 Reason and Argument and Phil 1400 Introduction to Theoretical Philosophy. Also available in a 10 Credit version for Joint Honours HPS students. Contact c.g.timpson@leeds.ac.uk

Objectives

On completion of this module students should be able to describe and critically assess a variety of views concerning:

a) the relationship between theories and observation in general;
b) the nature and role of confirmation and falsification in science;
c) the nature and role of laws and models in science;
d) the nature of observation and experimentation in general.

Syllabus

i) The Received View of Theories and the Nature of Laws of Nature
The 'Received View' of theories; the difference between laws and regularities; laws necessity and causality.

ii) Explanation in Science
The 'Deductive-Nomological' view of explanation; problems with the D-N view; causal accounts of explanation; explanation and models.

iii) Verification and Falsification
Logical positivism and verifiability; from verification to confirmation; falsifiability; recent accounts of confirmation in science.

iv) Phenomenological Laws and the Epistemology of Experiment
Truth and the nature of phenomenological laws; the autonomy of models; the separate life of experiment.

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 for tutorials: 24 hours;
Essay preparation: 30 hours;
Exam revision: 30 hours.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

1 x 2,000 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: 22/01/2009

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