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Module: History, Philosophy and Ethics of Science 2

Module Outline

The lectures follow a thematic progression that begins with the early history of science and philosophy and philosophical considerations about knowledge. This provides a context for discussion of scientific justification and method, and of science and truth. The lectures shift focus from epistemological considerations to ethical theories and their applications in science, and then again to metaphysical considerations regarding causation and laws of nature, identity and emergence.

Learning Aims

  • Think independently: Appreciates knowledge beyond chosen field. Thinks critically and creatively.
  • Communicate effectively: Listens, persuades, and collaborates. Uses communication tools of discipline.
  • Develop continuously: Learns and develops through reflection. Adapts to change.
  • Act responsibly: Is ethically aware. Is effective in teams. Acts responsibly and on the basis of knowledge.

Learning Outcomes

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

Think independently:

  • demonstrate critical thinking and independence of judgement.
  • investigate philosophical problems related to their discipline.

Communicate effectively:

  • use valid argumentation and avoid fallacious reasoning.
  • collaborate effectively regarding philosophical problems.

Develop continuously:

  • appraise theory and practice through philosophical reflection.
  • adapt to changing evidence and investigate new possibilities informed by philosophical approaches.

Act responsibly:

  • demonstrate ethical awareness and recognise the place of science and philosophy in society.
  • operate well both as part of a team and individually, recognising the role of the academic community in upholding standards.

Assessment for Semester 2

Annual and Reassessment are the same:*


Essays will be due in calendar weeks 28 & 34. A 50–100 word abstract of the focus of each essay will be due one week prior to the essay deadline, in calendar weeks 27 & 33.

*If students are required to complete reassessment they are required to complete each failed component of the failed module

Recommended Reading List

  • As advised/circulated by lecturer during the lecture series.
  • Introductory reading: Lewens, T. (2016) The Meaning of Science. Penguin.

Wordcount for Essays

Essays must not exceed 1,000 words in length. The word count includes footnotes but it does not include the bibliography. Essays that go over the limit by 10% (1,100 words or more) will be liable for a 5 mark deduction.

Late Submission of Essays and Extensions

There will be a 5 mark deduction from the relevant essay mark, for each week that an abstract or essay is late.

Extensions may be requested on medical or ad misericordiam grounds from Dr Keith Begley but only via the student’s College Tutor. Extensions must be arranged prior to the submission date.

Tutorial Attendance

It is mandatory for students to attend tutorials for Philosophy. If a student misses four or more tutorials in a term, then they are penalised by 5 marks being deducted from the second of their two essays. If a student does not complete the required tutorial presentation then they are penalised by 5 marks being deducted from the second of their two essays. Requests for absences to be excused may be made on medical or ad misericordiam grounds to Dr Keith Begley but only via the student’s College Tutor.

Exam Rules and Penalties

Students must not attempt to answer an examination question that has the same numeral as a question for which they have submitted an essay. To do so is to be liable to be penalised by 10 marks for the examination question attempted.