Master Topic in Philosophy of Science

Postgraduate 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

  • specialized knowledge of the key-concepts, arguments and positions in the philosophy of science.
  • a deep understanding of at least one of the themes covered in the course, including familiarity with an expanded range of related scholarly literature.


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
  • engage in in-depth research in a variety of topics in philosophy of science, develop their own ideas, formulate research questions related to the themes and debates covered in the course. Moreover, they will be able to assess the scholarly literature. In addition, they will become able to write a substantial research paper that engages with relevant scholarly literature. They will be well-prepared to write an MA thesis in this field.

Level of Study


Semester of Instruction

Fall in even years
Required Previous Knowledge
Bachelor degree with 90 credits specializing in philosophy or equivalent.
Recommended Previous Knowledge
A good proficiency in English is necessary since it ought to be assumed that much of the prescribed reading will be in English.
Access to the Course
This course is open to students who have been admitted to the Master's programme in philosophy. All other students require permission in order to register for this course. Please contact to apply.
Teaching and learning methods

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

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

The students will be offered the opportunity to present some materials in class, either some assigned readings, or their own work towards the end of the semester. Although this activity is not obligatory, and will not be graded, it will help them improve their abilities to communicate orally and present ideas to an audience.

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

An approval of compulsory requirements is valid for three semesters, including the semester in which the approval is given.

  • Students must submit a proposal and draft of their semester assignment. Deadlines are set by the department.
  • Students must attend a supervision session with the instructor.
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 2000-3000 words long, w/o bibliography. Total length of the assignment, for both answers, is thus 4000-6000 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.

The compulsory activities have to be formally approved before one can take an exam in the course.

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.