General course description

According to a common view of science, knowledge accumulates under the guidance of an agreed-upon "scientific method." According to an alternative model, science is sometimes subject to revolutionary changes in which the rules of the game and hat counts as relevant evidence change along with our scientific theories.

This course focuses on alleged episodes of revolutionary scientific change. We begin with the Copernican revolution of the 17th century. In light of this example, we will study Thomas Kuhn's celebrated work The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Using Kuhn's account as a guide, we might also consider other, allegedly revolutionary episodes, including the Darwinian revolution and the alleged chaos revolution in the 1970s.

In addition to Kuhn, we will read passages from Aristotle, Galilei, and contemporary philosophers of science.

© Dirk Schlimm, Last modified: 5/2/02