Course code PHI401

PHI401 Research Ethics and Philosophy of Science I

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Showing course contents for the educational year 2017 - 2018 .

Course responsible: Terje Bent Kvilhaug, Frode Kjosavik
Teachers: Deborah Helen Oughton, Terje Bent Kvilhaug, Vegard Arnhoff
ECTS credits: 5
Faculty: School of Economics and Business
Teaching language: EN
(NO=norsk, EN=Engelsk)
Limits of class size:
Teaching exam periods:
This course starts in Autumn parallel. This course has teaching/evaluation in Autumn parallel.
Course frequency: Annually
First time: Study year 2009-2010
Preferential right:
Course contents:
An elementary and introductory course in philosophy of science will give the student a good basis for a better understanding of issues concerning research ethics and social responsibility of science by viewing science as a practice form and by examining its own ethical aim ("good" science). Among issues to be discussed are: The value- and norm systems of science facts and values political-economical interests and scientific integrity research ethical guidelines duties towards other scientists and research objects science, technology and society, ethical challenges in developmental research, scientific rationality and scientific methods, scientific realism and social constructivism, metaphors and theory formation, theoretical experience/experimental experience.
Learning outcome:
The course aims at an increased understanding of science in practice, i. e. science as it is carried out in diverse ways within the natural, social and cultural field. In the course we will look into what is specific about scientific practice, rationality and method in different fields, which are its aims, how is it influenced by society and what kind of social and cultural consequences does it seem to have? The objective is to stimulate students to reflect on their own and to understand other research projects and research fields, in particular with regard to increasing their ability to see and diagnose philosophical and ethical problems in the sciences as well as their awareness of their ethical responsibility.
Learning activities:
Lectures and seminars, in addition to application of theory in term paper.
Teaching support:
Teachers will be available by appointment.

Course Readings, PHI401 and PHI402


PHI401: Selection from below, ca. 300 pages

PHI402: Selection from below, ca. 600 pages


Textbook (Chapters 9 and 12 may be skipped):


Chalmers, A. What is this thing called Science?, 3rd edition, Open University Press, Buckingham, 1999.


Further material (may be subject to revision):


Cartwright, N. The Dappled World. A Study of the Boundaries of Science, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, 1999, Chap. 4.

Cartwright, N. Nature's Capacities and their Measurement. Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1989, Chap. 5.

Caruana, Louis. 'Method.' In: Science and Virtue. An Essay on the Impact of the Scientific Mentality on Moral Character, Ashgate, Hampshire, 2006, 33-57.

Collier, A. Critical Realism. An Introduction to Roy Bhaskar's Philosophy, Verso, London, 1994, Chap. 2, 31-51, Chap. 4, 107-120, Chap. 5, 137-169.

Feyerabend, P. Against Method, 3rd ed., Verso, London, 1994, 'Introduction', 9-13, Parts 1-5, 14-53, and Parts 15-19, 147-251.

Geertz, C. 'The Strange Estrangement: Taylor and Natural Sciences.' In: J. Tully (ed.), Philosophy in an Age of Pluralism, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1994, 83-95.

Gibbons, M. 'Science's New Social Contract with Society.' Nature 402/C81, 1999, 11-17.

Hodgson, G. 'Biological and Physical Metaphors in Economics', in S. Maasen, E. Mendelsohn, and P. Weingart (Eds.), Biology as Society, Society as Biology: Metaphors, Kluwer, Dordrecht, 1994, 339-355.

Kuhn, T. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, 2nd edition, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1970, Chaps. IX-X.

Kuhn, T. 'Postcript - 1969'. In: The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, 3rd ed., University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1996, 174-210.

Maasen, S., 'Who is afraid of Metaphors?' In: S. Maasen, E. Mendelsohn, and P. Weingart (Eds.), Biology as Society, Society as Biology: Metaphors, Kluwer, Dordrecht, 1994, 11-35.

Miller, R. W. 'Value Freedom' excerpted from 'Fact and Method in the Social Sciences.' In: Boyd, R. et al (Eds.), The Philosophy of Science, 1991, MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass., 744-749.

Nanda, M. 'The Epistemic Charity of the Social Constructivist Critics of Science and Why the Third World Should Refuse the Offer.' In: N. Koertge (Ed.), A House Built on Sand. Exposing Postmodernist Myths about Science, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1998.

Penslar, R. L. Research Ethics. Cases

Recommended prerequisites:
Examen Philosophicum or equivalent.
Mandatory activity:
Students must attend at least 65 % of the lectures and seminars. Approved mandatory activites are valid until the end of the next course period. It is possible to hand in a a new term paper the subsequent year without attending lectures and seminars for that year.
Term paper (100%). No re-examination. In writing the term paper, students are required to make use of - and include references to - relevant course literature. They are encouraged to make use of additional literature as well, if they find it interesting or necessary to do so.
Nominal workload:
150 hours
Entrance requirements:
Reduction of credits:
The course PHI 401 overlaps with the first part of the course PHI 402. Students who complete the course PHI 402 in addition to PHI 401 will only receive 5 study points. Students who have taken the course PHI 400 (given last time autumn 2008) will not receive any study points by taking the courses PHI 401 or PHI 402.
Type of course:
Around 28 hours of lectures + seminars and group discussions.
The first part of the course PHI 402 will share lectures, seminars and literature with the course PHI 401.
Quality assessment of the syllabus and the essay questions is ensured by the use of an external examiner.
Examination details: Term paper: Bestått / Ikke bestått