840052 :Thinking about Science


Voertaal Engels
Werkvorm: 13 x 2 hours lectures (Collegerooster)
Tentamenvorm: Midterm, Team Essay and Feedback, Endterm (Tentamenrooster)
Studielast:6 ECTS credits
Inschrijving:Inschrijven via Blackboard voor aanvang colleges
Blackboard informatieLink to Blackboard (Als u de melding 'Guest are not allowed in this course' krijgt, dient u nog bij Blackboard in te loggen)


dr. H.C.D.G. de Regt (coördinator)

Doel van de cursus (alleen in het Engels beschikbaar)

Learning goals: at the end of this course students are able:
  1. (Knowledge) to describe and recognize important (technical) concepts from philosophy of science that one needs to understand what science is: concepts like induction, verification, falsification, corroboration, hypothetico-deductive explanation, the rationality principle, Sprachspiel, forms of life, paradigm, anomalies in science, incommensurability, competing research programmes, methodological anarchism, scientific realism, rationality of scientific beliefs, pragmatist view of science, naturalism, reductionism, Darwin's theory of evolution, unification, and pluralism in science.
  2. (Understanding) to argue the relation between the interpretation, status, and value of science in our society.
  3. (Application) to apply the terms and concepts from philosophy of science in a first attempt to design and answer a research question in the social sciences and one in the humanities.
  4. (Analysis) to relate major historical events and ideas in the history of Western thinking to one another: the idea of scientific revolution, epistemologies like empiricism and rationalism, Hume and Kant's view of the boundaries of science, the emergence of positivism, the Verstehen/Erklären dichotomy, Darwinism and pragmatism/naturalism.
  5. (Evaluation) to give an elementary but argued vision of the idea of science based on the material used in the course.
  6. (Synthesis) to conclude to a view of science in which science is shown to be both worthwhile and crucial in steering our views of man and the world we inhabit.

Inhoud van de cursus (alleen in het Engels beschikbaar)

The course offers an introduction into thinking about science and the basics of doing scientific research. In the first and second part of the course (topics 1-4 and topics 5-9) students are acquainted with the philosophy of science. This introduction initially stretches from a brief description of what the sources of human knowledge might be, and via the Scientific Revolution to a Kantian solution of the rationalism-empiricism debate. Next, the history of thinking about science and scientific research is discussed and illustrated by reference to the main modern philosophers of science and their work: Dilthey, Wittgenstein, Schlick, Carnap, Neurath, Popper, Kuhn, Lakatos, Feyerabend, and Van Fraassen. This introduction into philosophy of science ends with the presentation of new and powerful perspectives on the nature and value of scientific knowledge, like pragmatism (Peirce and Dewey) and naturalism (Quine) in the third part (topics 10-11).


PART I Basic Introduction to Philosophy of Knowledge.

1. Rationalism and Empiricism in Antiquity.
2. The Scientific Revolution.
3. Modern Rationalism and Empiricism.
4. The Limits of Science: Hume and Kant.

PART II Introduction to Contemporary Philosophy of Science.

5. Positivism and Hermeneutics.
6. Logical Positivism and Falsificationism.
7. Language Games and Paradigms.
8. Research Programmes and Methodological Anarchism.
9. What Scientists Need to Think: Realism and Belief in Science.

PART III New Perspectives on Thinking about Science and Man.

10. Pragmatism: the American Way of Thinking.
11. Naturalism and Moving from Homo Economicus to Homo Sapiens.

Bijzonderheden (alleen in het Engels beschikbaar)

Included in this course is the module "Information Literacy". This program, offered in cooperation with TiU Library Services, provides students with essential skills required for doing research, such as where and how to find scientific information (Research Skills), how to cite sources, how to correctly incorporate this information in writing, etc.

Tutorial Information Literacy

As part of this course, you are required to complete the online library tutorial ‘Information Literacy Level 1’. The tutorial is intended for new students, and consists of five modules in which you will learn:

  • how to recognize scientific information;
  • how to effectively search for literature;
  • how to use the catalog; and
  • how to search in a number of important library databases for the humanities.

Each module ends with a five-question multiple-choice test. Your total score will be recorded by the library and sent to your lecturer.

The tutorial will cost you approximately 4 hours to work through. You can find it in Blackboard.
In Blackboard, click on the My University tab, then click on Library & IT Services. You’ll see 6 tutorials Information Literacy. Choose the tutorial for your School.

Enrollment as of Monday 11 September 2017.

For non-LAS students the number of places in this course is limited. For registration, please contact Tessa Leesen (t.g.leesen@tilburguniversity.edu) at least three weeks prior to the start of the course.

Verplichte literatuur

  1. De Regt, H.,Dooremalen, H. & Schouten, M., Exploring Humans. Philosophy of Science for the Social Sciences. A Historical Introduction., Boom, Amsterdam, ISBN 9 789085 062264.

Verplicht voor

  • Liberal Arts and Sciences ( 2015, 2016, 2017 )
  • Liberal Arts and Sciences: Elective major Business and Management ( 2015, 2016, 2017 )
  • Liberal Arts and Sciences: Elective major Cognitive Neuroscience ( 2016, 2017 )
  • Liberal Arts and Sciences: Elective major Humanities: European History and Culture ( 2015, 2016, 2017 )
  • Liberal Arts and Sciences: Elective major Law in Europe ( 2015, 2016, 2017 )
  • Liberal Arts and Sciences: Elective major Social Sciences ( 2015, 2016, 2017 )