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Topics in Philosophy

Scientific Revolutions

Philosophy 340

MWF 10:25-11:20, HU 133

P.D. Magnus pmagnus -at-

Campus phone 442-4251

Office hours: Tu 11:00-noon,

F 11:30-12:20,and by app't


Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions ISBN: 0226458083

Shapin, The Scientific Revolution

ISBN: 0226750213

Other readings will be available online.


40% paper

30% mid-term exam

30% final exam

Class participation: Participation in class discussion is required. Exemplary participation will add to your grade, up to two-thirds of a letter grade.

Academic honesty: The paper should include citations to any works cited or consulted, as well as acknowledgments of helpful interactions. Cheating will not be tolerated.

The paper: The paper will be seven pages on an assigned topic. A rough draft will be due during Week 10 (March 24). The paper will be returned to you with comments and the final draft will be due during Week 14 (April 26). You should turn in the rough draft along with the final.

The draft will be marked with the grade it would have received if it were a final draft. If the paper is not improved, however, the final draft will not receive this grade! If you turn in the paper unmodified, you will get one letter grade less than the grade marked on the draft.

Absences: Students who will need to miss exam dates for foreseeable reasons should discuss them with the professor at the beginning of the term. If an emergency results in absence, the student should contact the professor as soon as possible.

Schedule of topics

The following is a provisional schedule. Specific readings may take more or less time than indicated, but exam dates and due dates will not change.

Week 1 jan 20-22


Science as historical triumph (Read Sarton)

Week 2 jan 25-29

Science as a social structure (Read Merton)

Hypothetico-deductive method (Read Hempel)

Week 3 feb 1-5

Science as falsification (Read Popper)

Week 4 feb 8-12

The Kuhnian turn (read Kuhn)

Week 5 feb 17-19 feb 15: no class

- continued -

Week 6 feb 22-26

- continued -

Week 7 mar 1-5

Criticisms of Kuhn (Read Wray)

Week 8 mar 8-12

mar 8: midterm exam

Popper's revenge (Read Lakatos)

Week 9 mar 15-19

Novel predictions (Read Worrall)

Week 10 mar 22-24

Solar neutrinos (Read Pinch)

mar 24: DRAFT DUE

mar 26: no class

Spring Break

Week 11 apr 7-9

apr 5: no class

Social structure and trust (Read Shapin)

Week 12 apr 12-16

- continued -

Week 13 apr 19-23

The compromise model (Read Kitcher)

Week 14 apr 26-30

Science and values (Read Biddle&Winsberg)


Week 15 may 3