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Science studies the world, but what discipline studies science itself -- what it is, how it works, and why it works so well? Answer: the philosophy of science. Questions tackled in this course include: how do scientists develop theories, test them, and adjudicate between rival explanations of natural phenomena? Does the careful application of the scientific method lead to truth and certainty? Do unobservable entities, like quarks, really exist, or are they merely useful fictions? And should scientists try to show their theories are false instead of trying to show they are true? The course will be of interest to anyone fascinated by science, its history, its aims, and its methods, and will be value to scientists-in-training in providing a broad perspective on the extraordinary philosophical puzzles and perplexities hovering over all scientific inquiry.
15 points of Philosophy or30 points of science courses