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SX1516: MANKIND IN THE UNIVERSE: THE QUESTION OF OBJECTIVITY? (2018-2019)

Last modified: 22 May 2019 17:07


Course Overview

How do we know what we know?  How do we judge what we know?  How do we make sense of what is around us, and how do we make informed judgements? Can we be truly objective?

The first half of this course will look at objectivity as viewed by science, philosophy and religion.  This will challenge any preconceived notions that there is a single way of viewing the world about us.  The second half will take objectivity into some topical, controversial and sometimes emotive issues (e.g. climate, evolution, ethics, genetics) examining these in the light of our studies on objectivity.




Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 1
Session Second Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus None. Sustained Study No
Co-ordinators
  • Professor Jan Skakle

Qualification Prerequisites

  • Either Programme Level 1 or Programme Level 2

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

  • Any Undergraduate Programme (Studied)

What other courses must be taken with this course?

None.

What courses cannot be taken with this course?

None.

Are there a limited number of places available?

No

Course Description

How do we know what we know and how do we judge what we know? How do we make sense of what is around us, and how do we make informed judgements? The course looks at some key topics in relation to objectivity, uncertainty vs realism and the philosophy of science. It also examines how our world view is shaped by values and religion and how myth and science interact and affect our knowledge of the scientific world. The first half will look at objectivity as viewed by science, philosophy and religion. This will challenge any preconceived notions that there is a single way of viewing the world about us. The first half of the course begins with a ‘quick tour of the Universe’, a selective summary of what we think we know in such fields as astronomy and atoms/particles and how we have come to know these things. It follows with the basic philosophy of objectivity and then how Mankind has used story-telling as a way of making sense of the world around (“Myth”). The second part of the course looks at current thinking in relation to a number of topical themes in biology/ethics, evolution, genetics and disease and the climate system and tried to look at these objectively from a standpoint of current thought. The aim is to understand objective thinking and to be aware of how we are influenced in making judgements.

Further Information & Notes

This course is only available to students registered in Programme Years 1 and 2. Attendance at classes for Sixth Century courses is compulsory. Students who do not attend all classes (including lectures) for a Sixth Century course, without exceptional cause, will not pass the engagement component of the course and will therefore fail the course.

In light of Covid-19 this information is indicative and may be subject to change.

Contact Teaching Time

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

Teaching Breakdown

  • 1 Lecture during University weeks 25 - 31
  • 2 Lectures during University weeks 32 - 35

More Information about Week Numbers


Summative Assessments

1st Attempt: Continuous Assessment (100%); A series of short assessments will be set corresponding to each section of the course: science, myth, objectivity, climate, and genetics/evolution/ethics. These will be a mixture of individual and group work, with class discussions, blogs, wikis, online tests as examples. Resit: Continuous Assessment (100%); Only available to those who have attended sufficient classes and have exceptional good cause. Make-up essays will be provided.

Formative Assessment

As the students are regularly completing small summative assessments, they will have feedback throughout the course. Marks (and comments, where possible) will be returned through MyAberdeen.

Feedback

None.

Course Learning Outcomes

None.

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