This course is co-taught with Michael Baumgartner and Marcel Weber.

In this seminar we shall treat several issues that are at the center of attention in contemporary philosophy of science. In the autumn semester, we shall focus on two sets of issues: First, the question of whether all phenomena are reducible to some more fundamental level or whether there are also emergent properties in nature. Second, we shall examine current accounts of scientific explanation, in particular the question of what constitutes a good mechanistic explanation. For the spring semester, we plan to discuss the epistemology of scientific models including in particular computational models or 'computer simulations' as well as the problem of theory confirmation.

Course Materials

Course materials such as lecture notes, handouts, etc may be made available as they will be used in class.

The following materials are strongly recommended for this course:

  • Michael Weisberg, Simulation and Similarity: Using Models to Understand the World, Oxford: Oxford University Press 2013.
  • Richard Dawid, String Theory and the Scientific Method, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2013.
  • More materials will be made available on Chamilo.

Schedule (Spring 2016)

This is the schedule for the seminar. It is subject to adjustment.

Date Readings Presenter(s)
24.02. Introduction, covering Weisberg, Ch. 1 and Ch. 2 Instructors
02.03. Weisberg, Ch. 3 Lorenzo Cocco
09.03. Weisberg, Ch. 4 Joshua Babic
16.03. Weisberg, Ch. 5 Michal Hladky
23.03. Weisberg, Ch. 6 Daniele Cereghetti
30.03. No seminar (vacances)
06.04. Weisberg, Ch. 7 Lami Damachi
13.04. Weisberg, Ch. 8 Niels Linnemann
20.04. Weisberg, Ch. 9 Augustin Baas
27.04. Dawid, Ch. 1 Juliusz Doboszewski
04.05. Dawid, Ch. 2 and Ch. 3 (without 3.5) Lorenzo Cocco
11.05. Dawid, Ch. 5 Radin Dardashti
18.05. Dawid, Ch. 6 Joshua Babic
25.05. Dawid, Ch. 7 Daniele Cereghetti