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Nature of Science (Introduction to the structure of scientific knowledge)


Outline of the course:

 

This will be reading course. The cognitive objective of the course is: after the end of the course the student would have understood how to distinguish between theory, hypotheses, laws, phenomena, models, and physical systems; develop an appreciation of axiomatic structure of scientific theories; understand what happens to the structure of a scientific theory when conceptual change takes place; the various criteria of demarcating science from other modes of pursuit; implications of nature of science debate on science education.

 

There will be two discussion classes (presentation by students followed by discussion) of 90 minutes each per week.  Evaluation will be regular (presentations and participation in the discussions); and two term papers (one mid term and one end term paper) followed by a seminar at the end of the course.  One of the objectives of the course is also to train students to compose papers according to the rules of the game.

 

The main texts are Fred Suppe: the structure of science.  Other supplementary readings will be taken from Karl Popper, Van Frassen, Ian Hacking, Larry Laudan, Philip Kitcher, Ronald Geire, Ernst Nagel, Mary Hesse, Nancy Cartwright, Paul Thagard,


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