The Epistemology of Science

Science asserts an epistemically privileged role among our attempts to grasp the world around and within us. This assertion is based on the empirical support which mature scientific theories garner and on the systematic and methodical way they do this. To understand this relation between evidence and theory is the ambition of theories of 'confirmation'. This seminar attempts to survey a few of these, to analyze what 'evidence' is, and to enter various recent philosophical debates concerning some types of experiments and their epistemic status.

Prerequisites: I assume no particular background either in philosophy or in science. Having said that, however, there will be some more technically and scientifically more involved readings. If you don't want to present or write on these---which is fine---, you should at least be prepared to make a reasonable effort to grasp the material.

Distribution requirements: This course can be counted towards the fulfillment of the distribution requirement in philosophy of science.

Course Materials

Course materials such as lecture notes, handouts, etc will be made available as they will be used in class. Here is the list:

  • No handouts yet...

Most texts will be made available through e-reserves: Link to this course's e-reserves page

A number of (mostly background) readings for this class can be found in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.