Philosophy of Science

Undergraduate course

Course description

Objectives and Content

Philosophy of science is concerned with fundamental questions about science and with the implications of science for society. Some of these key-questions are: What counts as science? Is there a Scientific Method, and what is it? Are scientific theories reliable sources of knowledge? What is the general purpose of science (if any)? Although there is little consensus on the answers to many key-questions in the philosophy of science (including the issue of induction, or the ability of science to tell us true things about 'unobservables'), this course attempts to provide a general overview of these responses, and to evaluate their credibility. There are strong and natural connections between science and other branches of philosophy, such as metaphysics and epistemology. The main emphasis lies on contemporary philosophy.

Learning Outcomes


After completing the course students should have good knowledge of the key-concepts, arguments and positions in the philosophy of science.


After completing the course the student should be able to: - discuss orally and in writing central issues, concepts and arguments in philosophy of science (eg. falsificationism, realism v. different versions of antirealism such as instrumentalism or constructive empiricism, bayesianism, etc.) - consider the relevant arguments in philosophy of science (e. g. the 'no miracles argument ') - work individually with philosophical questions and problems - discuss the value of science to society

Level of Study


Semester of Instruction

Fall in even years
Recommended Previous Knowledge
Approved first semester studies. Specialized study courses presuppose good background knowledge in philosophy, and students should normally have finished their exams in all 100-level cumpolsary courses. A good proficiency in English is necessary since it ought to be assumed that much of the prescribed reading will be in English.
Credit Reduction due to Course Overlap
FIL219 overlap 10 points with FIL319 (Master Topic in Philosophy of Science). Please contact the for further information.
Access to the Course
The course is open to students admitted at the University of Bergen
Teaching and learning methods

Teaching is offered in the form of lectures and/or seminars.

Guidance of semester assignment paper: guidance is a voluntary offer and can occur individually or in groups.

The number of gatherings may be reduced if the number of students attending the course is less than 4. In that case, the students will be compensated with individual or group tutoring

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance
No compulsory requirements
Forms of Assessment

An assignment consisting in answering two questions on the material taught in the course. The questions are assigned by the lecturer.

Each answer is 1500-2500 words long, w/o bibliography. Total length of the assignment, for both answers, is thus 3000-5000 words.

The assignment can be written in Norwegian or English. The assignment can be written in Norwegian or English and is to be handed in digital as one PDF-document at the end of the semester.

Assessment in a semester without teaching follows the syllabus the previous semester the course had teaching.

Grading Scale
From A to F
Course Evaluation
The teaching will be evaluated from time to time.