Courses & Units

Philosophy of Science HPH306



Science is our most successful attempt to understand the world around us, and it plays an extremely important role in contemporary society. As such, we should not ignore the possibility that science may have something to contribute to traditional philosophical debates about the nature of the world and our place in it. But nor should we, as philosophers or ordinary citizens, ignore the limitations of science and accept everything scientists tell us uncritically. In this unit we cast a philosophical eye over science, considering questions like What is science? What makes something a science rather than a pseudo-science? Are there limits to scientific knowledge? We will also cast a scientific eye on philosophy, considering what science might have to tell us about such issues as what it is to be human, the philosophy of time, the question of design in and of the natural world, and the nature explanation. This unit will be of interest to philosophy majors following the Logic and Philosophy of science stream, to students studying in a bachelor of science, or to anyone who is interested in the nature of science.

The exact content of this unit will rotate from year to year. For more specific information about the content of this unit in any given year, see the Teaching Plan available at the Philosophy homepage.


Unit name Philosophy of Science
Unit code HPH306
Credit points 12.5
College/School College of Arts, Law and Education
School of Humanities
Discipline Philosophy and Gender Studies
Coordinator Doctor Richard Corry
Available as student elective? Yes
Delivered By University of Tasmania
Level Advanced


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Unit census dates currently displaying for 2021 are indicative and subject to change. Finalised census dates for 2021 will be available from the 1st October 2020. Note census date cutoff is 11.59pm AEST (AEDT during October to March).

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Learning Outcomes

  • Understand some of the philosophical issues that lie at the foundations of science.
  • Analyse and critically assess philosophical arguments.
  • Engage with a range of philosophical views, synthesising perspectives to arrive at reflectively formed judgements.
  • Communicate your ideas and reasoning in a clear manner.
  • Appreciate the potential and limitations of scientific and rational enquiry.
Field of Education Commencing Student Contribution 1 Grandfathered Student Contribution 1 Approved Pathway Course Student Contribution 2 Domestic Full Fee
not applicable

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25 points at introductory level in any discipline in any faculty

Mutual Exclusions

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AssessmentExamination - take home (40%)|Scenario (15%)|Plan (5%)|Essay (40%)
TimetableView the lecture timetable | View the full unit timetable



Required readings will be listed in the unit outline prior to the start of classes.

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