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Last modified: 24 May 2018 15:12

Course Overview

This course provides students with an advanced introduction to key problems of scientific rationality. The central question that the course aims to address is whether scientific change is rational, and in what sense it is so. The first part of the course analyses in detail scientific, historical and philosophical aspects of the Copernican Revolution, during which the Geocentric theory of the universe was replaced with the Heliocentric one. The second part of the course introduces basic ideas and problems of confirmation theory and scientific methodology. Some familiarity with elementary logic is preferable, though not required. 

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 4
Session First Sub Session Credit Points 30 credits (15 ECTS credits)
Campus Old Aberdeen Sustained Study No
  • Dr Luca Moretti

Qualification Prerequisites


What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

  • Either Programme Level 4 or Programme Level 5
  • Any Undergraduate Programme (Studied)

What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?

  • PH305L Scientific Revolutions and Scientific Rationality (Studied)

Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

The course aims at uncovering what is constitutive of scientific rationality. Some of the most discussed conceptions of scientific methodology, including Baconian inductivism, hypothetico-deductivism, falsificationism, Feyerabend's anarchism and Bayesianism, will be analysed. Some of these views will be tested on cases from past and contemporary science, including the Copernican revolution and the continental drift hypothesis. Specific and "technical" topics, including the old and the new problem of induction, the Duhem-Quine thesis and paradoxes of confirmation, will also be surveyed.

Contact Teaching Time

Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.

Teaching Breakdown


More Information about Week Numbers

Summative Assessments

1st Attempt: Two 3500-word essays (90%) and a seminar presentation (10%).

Resit: There is no resit for year 4 students.

Formative Assessment

There are no assessments for this course.


All feedback will be written on the essays.

Course Learning Outcomes


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