Courses - Spring 2013

Pierre Le Morvan

PHL 311/ Philosophy of Science

The course will be organized around five main themes: 1) The Nature of Science. What is science? How do we demarcate science from non-science and pseudo-science? 2) Scientific Realism vs. Scientific Anti-Realism. Do scientific theories provide us with a literally true account of the world or are they merely useful predictive devices or fictions? Do the objects, properties, and relations posited by scientific theories exist independently of human consciousness? What kinds of scientific realisms and anti-realisms are there, and what are their respective virtues and problems? 3) Explanation and the Historical Development of Science. To what extent are scientific theories explanatory? How does scientific explanation relate to the historical development of science? Is the historical development of science cumulative or revolutionary? 4) The Validation of Scientific Theories. To what extent are scientific theories confirmed or disconfirmed? What is falsification? What is induction? Is induction justified? What role does observation play in science? 5) The Role of Values in Science. What role do epistemic and ethical values play in science? What role ought they to play? Do epistemic and ethical values sometimes conflict? What ethical responsibilities do scientists have in conducting research?

HON 272/ Philosophy of Religion

This course critically examines major issues, views, and positions in the philosophy of religion. Topics treated include the nature of religion and divinity, religious diversity, the problem of evil, philosophical arguments for the existence of God, religious experience, ethics and religion, and science and religion. Students will be encouraged to learn from great thinkers of the past and of the present, to examine their own religious values and beliefs, and to take reasoned and informed stands on the issues treated.

PHL 250/ Philosophy of Religion

This course critically examines major issues, views, and positions in the philosophy of religion. Topics treated include the nature of religion and divinity, religious diversity, the problem of evil, philosophical arguments for the existence of God, religious experience, ethics and religion, and science and religion. Students will be encouraged to learn from great thinkers of the past and of the present, to examine their own religious values and beliefs, and to take reasoned and informed stands on the issues treated.


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