SFEL8000 Philosophy of Science for the Social Sciences
Masters degree in the Social Sciences or equivalent.
The course has largely what could be called a “laboratory character”, meaning that concepts and perspectives of philosophy of science are applied on research within the participant’s own research tradition. Consequently, it is to prefer that the participants have begun working with the thesis, making it possible to relate their own work to themes of philosophy of science. If the participant not formally has begun working with the thesis, it is necessary that a research plan is formulated, specifying research questions, method (s) and theoretical perspective (s).
The aims of the course are:
To give the students extensive training in philosophy of science and its application in the research process.
To give a broad overview of the field of philosophy of science, highlighting key philosophical/methodological concepts and perspectives with demonstrations of their application in social/behavioral science research.
To give the participants the opportunity, from a philosophy of science perspective, to identify and analyze theoretical and methodological problems in their own research project.
To give the participants an opportunity to conduct an analysis of research works in their own field of interest, based on concepts/perspectives of philosophy of science.
The teaching consists of six introductory lectures and four seminars (two obligatory) distributed over four modules. The seminars in module 3 require active participation from the students. Examination is in the form of written and oral presentation of group tasks and written individual analysis tasks, related to the participants’ research interests
Module 1: Introduction. Basic concepts and perspectives
Tuesday 28 August, 13.15-16.00 - auditorium D107, Dragvoll Campus
Wednesday 29 August, 13.15-16.00 - auditorium D4, Dragvoll Campus
Thursday 30 August, 13.15-16.00 - auditorium .137, Dragvoll Campus-
An overview of ontological and epistemological traditions and their implications for contemporary social/behavioral science. Paradigmatic traditions - programmatic and “practical”, methodological standpoints. Controversies within the field of philosophy of science. Research questions - Possibilities and limitations. The role of values in research. Research Ethics.
Module 2: Philosophy of science – methodological implications and strategies.
Wednesday 3 October, 13.15-16.00 - auditorium D4, Dragvoll Campus
Thursday 4 October, 09.15-12.00 - auditorium D12, Dragvoll Campus
Thursday 4 October, 13.15-16.00 - auditorium D107, Dragvoll Campus
The building blocks of social science - Definitions and concept-formation. Descriptive strategies. Traditions of interpretation. Forms of aggregation and strategies of inference. Forms of explanation and explanatory strategies. The practical use of theory. Social and behavioral science: A cumulative project?
Module 3: Workshop related to the exam.
Tuesday 6 November, 13.15-17.00 - auditorium D106, Dragvoll Campus
Wednesday 7 November, 13.15-17.00 - auditorium DL140, Dragvoll Campus
Module 4: Seminar with feedback (not obligatory)
Tuesday 4. December, 09.15-12.00 - auditorium D5, Dragvoll Campus
Tuesday 4.December, 13.15-16.00 - auditorium DI176, Dragvoll Campus
Tutorial related to specific PhD-projects.
Obligatory activities: Participation in module 1-3, group assignments and individual assignments.
SFEL8000 reading list
Selection to be made, dependent on participant’s research interests.