Philosophy of science

lsc2220  2021-2022  Louvain-la-Neuve

Philosophy of science
2.00 credits
30.0 h
Guay Alexandre; Thyssen Pieter (compensates Guay Alexandre);
Learning outcomes

At the end of this learning unit, the student is able to :

1 The aim of the course is to invite Master students in science to reflect on some of the current central themes in the philosophy of science, which are related to their interests and the scientific discipline in which they have specialised. They will have to analyze, alone or in a group, a specific philosophical issue that they will choose in relation to the themes addressed in the classroom lectures. Students will have to convey the results and conclusions of their investigations in a written essay as well as through an oral presentation.
The three themes for 2021-22 are taken from, respectively, the philosophy of physics, the philosophy of chemistry, and general philosophy of science/metaphysics. They are:
  1. The measurement problem. What is the measurement problem of quantum mechanics? How do different interpretations of quantum mechanics attempt to answer the measurement problem?
  2. The problem of molecular structure. What is the problem of molecular structure in chemistry? How does it relate to the measurement problem of quantum mechanics?
  3. Laws of nature. What are laws of nature? Are they descriptive or prescriptive in nature? Are they imposed upon Nature ('from the outside') or inherent in Nature ('from the inside')?
Teaching methods
The first part of the course consists in lectures on the three themes. In the meantime, students will register on the course’s website and form teams of maximum three members. Each team will choose a presentation subject in relation with one of the themes. The subject, the related list of references and the oral presentation plan will have to be approved by the professor. He shall be available to help students develop their presentation. The second part of the class will be devoted to the oral presentations. The final exam will cover all lectures and presentations.
Evaluation methods
The evaluation consists of two elements: a written exam (50% of the final grade) and an oral presentation in small groups (50%).
During the second session, the evaluation consists of an exam (50%) plus the presentation grade (50%). If the presentation grade is absent or has already been included in the June evaluation, this grade will be replaced by a personal research essay. Note that it is possible to make the presentation during the semester, asked for a presence grade in June and therefore use the presentation grade in the September evaluation.
Online resources
See course Moodle site.
Voir site Moodle du cours.
Faculty or entity

Programmes / formations proposant cette unité d'enseignement (UE)

Title of the programme
Learning outcomes
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