Philosophy of science

05 desember 2016 00:00 - 07 desember 2016 00:00


First gathering 05.12.16 – 07.12.16
Second gathering 08.05.17 – 09.05.17
Deadline for registration: November 1, 2016.
Maximum number of participants will be 20. Decision concerning admission is made according to the time of registration among the qualified applicants.
ECTS credits: 7,5

Level of course:.PhD

Type of course: Elective

Duration: 2 semesters.

Study start: First gathering 05.12.16 – 07.12.16 and second gathering 08.05.17 – 09.05.17.

Last application day: 01.11.16.

Year of study: 1-2

Study place: Steinkjer.

Faculty responsible: HHN

Language of instruction: English.

Course coordinators: Knut Ingar Westeren and Hans Siggaard Jensen

Costs: No costs except semester registration fee and syllabus literature.

Course evaluation: The study programme is evaluated by students by way of course evaluation.

Description of the topic:

Course contents:
The course will address the following topics:
Basic positions in the philosophy of science: Kuhn and Popper.
Hermeneutics - starting with Gadamer.
Critical theory - here we will discuss Levi-Strauss, Habermas and others.
Postmodernism and social constructivism -here we will start with Lyotard and Rorty.
Narratives-here we will start with Ricoeur.
Scientific knowledge.
Objectivity and evidence.
Economic reductionism.

Learning benefits:
The student will have:
knowledge about the main positions in the philosophy of science.
knowledge of how the different scientists in philosophy of science can be discussed in relation to each other.

The student will:
be able to discuss different directions in the philosophy science in relation to an issue - like a position in a doctoral dissertation
be able to understand original writings of key authors in philosophy of science and discuss these in relation to current research results.

General competence
The student will have:
A basic overview of positions in the philosophy of science so that he/she is able to recognize the scientific starting point when reading a doctoral theses

Especially recommended elective courses: No.

Offered as a free-standing course: Yes

Prerequisites: The student must have knowledge at master level.

Recommended previous knowledge: Not applicable.

Mode of delivery: The course is based on classroom instruction, group work and work with the mandatory assignment. We will follow up and give advice about the mandatory assignment on the Web.

Learning activities and teaching methods:
The course is assembly based, first, a gathering of three days, and some months later a gathering of two days. Attendance at the gatherings is required, shorter absences may be approved upon application. The workload of the course is such that the course section is of 5 ECTS and mandatory assignment is of 2.5 ECTS (both parts required for passing the course and receiving ECTS).

Assessment methods and criteria:
The course consists of the gatherings and the individual mandatory assignment. The mandatory assignment is the exam for the course. The course will be evaluated with the characters “pass” and “not pass”. When the mandatory assignment is submitted and evaluated to “pass” the student has finished the course, eligible to 7.5 ECTS.

Work placement: Not applicable.

Recommended or required reading: The reading list is subject to amendments at semester start.


The curriculum for the course consists of the following selection of articles where the vast majority are retrieved from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. All articles where it says (SEP) can be retrieved from the Web at this address:
The other articles have the source that is acknowledged. All the articles are collected in a compendium and will be posted on the Web.

0. General introduction:
0.1 Stephen Toulmin: The Philosophy of Science (Excerpt from: Encyclopedia Britannica 2004. 24 s.).

1. Basic positions in the philosophy of science: Kuhn and Popper
1.1 Kuhn (SEP, 24 s.), 1.2 Popper (SEP, 24 s.), 1.3 Alfred Schutz (SEP, 20 s.), 1.4 Kuhn-text (Excerpt from: The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, University of Chicago Press, 1962. 22 s.), 1.5 Popper-text (Excerpt from: Objective Knowledge, Clarendon Press, 1972. 46 s.)

2. Hermeneutics
2.1 Hermeneutics (SEP, 21 s.) , 2.2 Husserl-text (Excerpt from: The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology, Northwestern University Press, Evanston, 1970. 21 s.) , 2.3 Dilthey-text (Excerpt from: Introduction to the Human Sciences, Princeton University Press, 1991. 8 s.) , 2.4 Gadamer (SEP, 14 s.).

3. Structuralism/Epistemology
3.1 Epistemology (SEP, 37 s.).

4. Kritisk teori
4.1 Critical Theory (SEP, 42 s.), 4.2 Claude-Levi Strauss-text (Excerpt from: Structural Anthropology, The Penguin Press, 1968. 28 s.), 4.3 Talcott Parsons-text (Excerpt from: Structure of Social Action, McGraw Hill, 1937. 24 s.), 4.4 Jürgen Habermas-text (Excerpt from: Knowledge & Human Interest, Polity Press, 1987. 23 s.)

5. Postmodernism and social construktivism
5.1 Jackson: Social Constructivism (Excerpt from: Social constructivism, OUP, 2006. 17 s.), 5.2 Jean Lyotard-text (Excerpt from: The Postmodern Condition, Manchester University Press, 1979. 21 s.), 5.3 Richard Rorty-text (Excerpt from: Consequences of Pragmatism, University of Minnesota Press, 1982. 42 s.)

6. Narrativs
6.1 Ricoeur: On narrative (Critical Inquiry, Vol. 7, No. 1, 1980. 22 s.) 6.2 Ricoeur (SEP, 24 s.).

7. Scientific knowledge
7.1 The Social Dimensions of Scientific Knowledge (SEP, 13 s.).

8. Objectivism and evidence
8.1 Realism (SEP, 29 s.). 8.2 Scientific Realism (SEP, 28 s.). , 8.3 Max Weber: Science as Vocation (Excerpt from: Science as a Vocation, Gerth & Mills, 1946. 36 s.)