Exam (fall 2013) in the Philosophy of Science and Methodology

This home exam covers topics from Okasha’s and Potter’s books (or equivalent books) and other relevant texts (see reference list in the schedule). Answer all the questions thoroughly in your own words (and illustrate with examples). Give references (also page numbers, or detailed web-addresses) to Okasha, Potter and all the other literature that you use. Hand in (no later than) Monday, October 10th , 12 pm. The maximum number of words that can be used are 4500, plus references. Use 1,5 spacing, Times New Roman, 12 points. Insert page numbers!

1) Explain how the “teleological” explanations work, and how they differ from, causal (or covering law) explanations. 10p

2) Explain the idea of (Popper’s) falsificationism (and the hypothetical-deductive method) and what its difficulties are. 8p

3) Describe Thomas Kuhn’s “paradigm theory”, i.e. what is a paradigm, what does it contain, and how do paradigms evolve? 10p

4) Peter Winch believes that society is “rule-goverened” (and not “law-goverened”). What does this mean for social science, and why does this (seem to) lead to relativism? In what sense is this similar to Kunh’s paradigm theory. How might relativism be countered? 10p

5) What is the fundamental difference between scientific realism and anti-realism (in Okasha). 4p

6) Explain the “no-miracle argument” for scientific realism. 4p.

7) What is an “ideal type” and what is its role of in Max Weber’s theory? 6p

8) What is the “hermeneutic circle” and how does it work in a theory of understanding? 4p

9) What is the “ideal speech situation” and what is its purpose in Habermas’ critical theory? 4p

10) What is “critical theory” (as in the Frankfurt school, or in Habermas): What is it trying to achieve and why? 6p
– Okasha, Samir. (2002) Philosophy of Science: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford UP.
– Potter Gary. (2000) The Philosophy of Social Science. Harlow: Prentice hall.

For information, don’t forget to also use the “terminology glossary” in Potter’s book!

Other relevant scientific literature (some of which has been provided).

Home-exams and plagiarism

The rules for the take-home exams and other hand-in assignments follow the general principles of academic practice, i.e. the text must be your own production. Footnotes/references should always be used when referring to the literature, including the course literature and must include the name of the writer, year of publication, and page number(s), and the quotations must be appropriately indicated. For references you may use the Harvard system – references in parenthesis in the text (i.e. Dahl 1999: 22) – or through the Oxford system through footnotes at the bottom of the page or at the end of the text. The Vancouver system can also be used (se relevant sources).

Any copying from the Internet, books, articles, student essays or other sources without proper referencing constitutes plagiarism and is not allowed. A student caught with plagiarism will fail the exam in its entirety and any suspicion of plagiarism will lead to the student being reported to the university disciplinary board. According to the examination rules, the take-home examination is to be conducted individually. Any collaboration that results in identical, or quite similar, answers is not in accord with the instructions and may lead to the examination in its entirety being failed and/or being considered as cheating, which will be reported to the university disciplinary board.

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