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Philosophy of Science

Module Code: PI2012

Module Name: Logic

  • ECTS Weighting: 10
  • Semester/Term Taught:

    Michaelmas Term/Semester 1

  • Contact Hours: 22 hours of lecture and 11 hours of tutorial
  • Module Personnel: Lecturer - Dr. Tim Fernando (email)

Module Content

This course introduces the elements of formal logic including the propositional and predicate calculi and basic proof procedures.

Components 1 and 2: Formal Logic - Dr. Tim Fernando (email)

This course is an introduction to classical logic aimed at philosophy students. We will make use of formal methods to make the notion of 'validity' precise in two systems of logic: propositional logic and predicate logic. We will first learn how to identify the logical form of arguments and then learn how to check their validity. In the case of propositional logic we will make use of truth tables and a tree method. In the case of predicate logic we will make use of some basic model theory and an expanded tree method. Time permitting we will also look at 28 some basic concepts in meta-logic - properties about the logical systems themselves.
In the final part of the course we turn our attention to some issues in philosophical logic, where we employ formal methods to serve philosophical ends. We will look at how logic can aid us in coming to grip with puzzles about vagueness, indeterminacy, identity and existence.

Learning Outcomes

At the end of this course students will be able to:

  • Translate sentences and arguments from English into the languages of propositional and predicate logic.
  • Assign truth conditions to formulas, using truth tables as a semantics for propositional logic and model theory as a semantics for predicate logic
  • Check the validity of argument forms in propositional and predicate logic using a tree method.
  • Use formal methods in the service of some philosophical ends.

Assessment Details

For PI2012 (10 ECTS) students are required to take two logic tests and sit a two hour exam during the annual examination period. Logic exercises are arranged between the students and the Teaching Assistant (these do not count toward the overall grade).

Module Code: PI2013

Module Name: Philosophy of Science

  • ECTS Weighting: 5
  • Semester/Term Taught:

    Hilary Term/Semester 2

  • Contact Hours: 22 hours of lecture and 11 hours of tutorial
  • Module Personnel: Lecturers - Dr. Simone Marini (email)

Module Content

This module deals with issues in the philosophy of language as well as with the methods and procedures of natural science.

Component 1: Philosophy of Science - Dr. Simone Marini (email)

The sciences are widely considered to be our most reliable sources of knowledge about the world. In this component we will investigate the main philosophical issues concerning the nature and status of scientific knowledge and methodology. The questions we will be asking include: What is specific to the scientific method, as opposed to other ways of knowing? Is the scientific method a good way of uncovering objective truths about the world? How can we characterise the structure of scientific explanation? How do scientific explanations relate to other sorts of explanatory practices? How are scientific theories constructed and confirmed?

Component 2: Philosophy of Language -Dr Damien Storey (email)

This course aims to provide an introduction to a selection of topics in philosophy of language, focusing on pragmatics—the study of linguistic utterances in the contexts in which they are performed. While semantics studies the literal meaning of sentences largely independently of context, pragmatics tries to explain how speakers often use sentences to convey more than or even something different from what they literally mean. We'll look at the development of pragmatics by philosophers such as J.L. Austin and H.P. Grice, and its application in explaining linguistic phenomenon like irony and metaphor.
At the end of this course, you’ll be able to:

  • Understand what pragmatics is and how it can be distinguished from semantics.
  • Understand and assess several pragmatic theories.
  • Engage critically with a number of specific applications of pragmatic theory.

Assessment Details

For PI2013 (5 ECTS) students will be required to submit one essay and sit a one hour exam (answering one question, from a list of questions for that module, which must be for the component for which the essay was NOT submitted) during the annual examination period.