History and Philosophy of Science

History and Philosophy of Science

PHL 339: History and Philosophy of Science

Winter 2018

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.

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