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2008/09 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

HPSC2205 Introduction to Theories and Observations in Science

10 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

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

This module is mutually exclusive with

HPSC2202Theories and Observations in Science
HPSC2330Theories and Observations in Science

Module replaces


This module is not approved as an Elective


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.


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
Private study hours80.00
Total Contact hours20.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)100.00

Private study

3 hours reading and preparation per lecture: 48 hours;
3 hours reading and preparing per tutorial: 12 hours.
Essay preparation: 20 hours.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Verbal feedback in seminars and written feedback on essay plan.

Methods of assessment

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

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay2,000 words100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

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: 15/07/2009


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