History and Philosophy of Science
PHL 339: History and Philosophy of Science
Essay #1 Prompts
Due Wednesday, February 7
Write a 3 to 4 page, double-spaced typed, critical essay on any one question. Consult at
least five other sources including our course textbook, and list all sources on a separate
Formatting guidelines for writing assignment: The following applies to all written
Use APA, MLA, or Chicago writing standards to cite sources; include a reference page at the end.
Essay must be typed, double-spaced on standard-sized paper (8.5″ x 11″) with 1″ margins on all sides. Use a clear font that is highly readable. I recommends using 12
pt. Times New Roman font. https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/01/
Include headers with your last name and page number. Late assignment: Subtract 5 points for each late day. Please turn in hardcopies of all written assignments. You can submit an
electronic copy via email to avoid late penalty, but you must still bring a hard
1. The author James Ladyman defines logic as ‘the study of reasoning abstracted from what
that reasoning is about.’ What are the two types of reasoning we discussed in class?
Briefly explain each type of reasoning with examples. What are some of the similarities
and differences between the two types of reasoning?
2. Francis Bacon, often called the father of modern philosophy of science, challenged
Aristotle’s science and advocated for strong inductive reasoning for reaching conclusions
about things. He lists what he calls four Idols of the Mind that could get in the way of
rightful inductive reasoning. List and briefly outline the main ideas of each Idol.
3. Scientific knowledge derives its credibility from its method, principally inductive
method. Briefly describe the central tenets of inductive method. Briefly outline the
central argument launched by the Scottish philosopher David Hume against inductive
reasoning. Conclude your response with your own analysis of Hume’s criticism of
inductive reasoning-do you agree or disagree with his criticism?
4. What does Karl Popper mean when he argues that falsifiability is the assertion that for
any hypothesis to have credence, it must be inherently disprovable before it can become
accepted as a scientific hypothesis or theory? Explain the idea of falsification with an
example. Popper claims that falsification overcomes the problem of induction. Do you
agree? Critically evaluate.