Aims and content

What is science? What is scientific objectivity and is it possible? How deep are the differences between different disciplines? Is there a scientific method common to the humanities, the social and the natural sciences? Is truth absolute or does it vary with the theoretical perspective of the researcher? Are there moral norms specific to the scientific enterprise? What are the responsibilities of scientists and of the scientific community in relation to society at large?

The aim of the course is to further critical reflection on questions like the above. We will start from general considerations about the nature of knowledge and truth, and go on to discuss the nature of evidence and the role of theoretical perspectives in research. Due to their importance in the cultural sciences, special attention will be given to questions about meaning, interpretation and the explanation of action. An important part of the course deals with ethical issues in relation to scientific research.

Readings

  1. Staffan Carlshamre: Philosophy of the Cultural Sciences (Preprint, Department of Philosophy, SU. The text will be distributed during the course. PDF.)
  2. David B. Resnik: The Ethics of Science: An Introduction (Routledge)

In addition, we will use a few articles and other material to be distributed during the course. The readings for each seminar will be listed in the seminars section.

Teaching

The course comprises seven 3-hour seminars.

Examination

The examination requirements are active participation in the seminars and completion of three written assignments.

Teachers

Björn Brunnander, mail (lectures 1-2)

Carl-Filip Brück, mail (lectures 3-5)

Henrik Ahlenius, mail (lectures 6-7)