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Issues in the Philosophy of Modern Science . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . AS 3CF3

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The following will be the form ot the exam. The particular questions here may or may not be among those on the exam.

COMPLETE BOTH SECTIONS A and B

This will involve giving 10 and 2 answers respectively.

You have THREE HOURS.

 

SECTION A: TRUE or FALSE?                                                                 [60 marks]

 

ANSWER ANY 10 of the following 14 QUESTIONS

 

In each case, determine whether the statement made is TRUE or FALSE (it may perhaps be partially true,) and give a brief justification for your answer:

Example: “0. Kuhn proposed that a paradigm could be directly falsified by a crucial experiment.”

Answer: 0. FALSE: The American historian of science Thomas Kuhn did describe science in terms of acceptance and rejection of paradigms, but he opposed the received view that they can be directly falsified by experiment. They are rather displaced over time by a rival paradigm, but possibly refuting phenomena will be interpreted differently in the different paradigms (paradigms can be "incommensurable"), preventing a rational comparison and decision in favour of one or the other.

 

1. Norwood Russell Hanson argued that observation is prior to and independent of theory.

2. According to Fine, scientific realism is dead.

3. Karl Popper claimed to have refuted inductivism.

4. “Social Constructivism” is the name given to one faction in the “Science Wars”.

5. Nancy Cartwright argues that the truth of theoretical laws can be established by the success of the theory in which they occur.

6. The aim of science, according to Laudan, is to progress closer and closer to the truth .

...


SECTION B                                                                                                   [40 marks]

 

Answer TWO of the following 6 questions, one from each section.

 

Your answer to each should be roughly 6-8 pages long in the exam book.

B I

1. Compare and contrast the rival explanations of the progress of scientific research given by Popper and Kuhn. How have contributions made by other thinkers helped to clarify the issues involved?   

2. The revolution in geology brought about by plate tectonics fits Lakatos's analysis of scientific change. Discuss.

3.     …

B2

1. Discuss the relative merits of the various rival theories of scientific explanation.   

2. Can science be objective, and if so, in what sense?

3.     …

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