Philosophical Inquiry: Problems of Science

Scientific theories provide us with effective means of making predictions that are often accurate. Additionally, scientific theories offer us explanations that help us understand the way the world works. But, are scientific theories successful because they are true? This class will investigate some of the central issues concerning the relationship between science and truth. We will explore enduring questions such as: What is science? How does science differ from pseudosciences? Does a potential scientific explanation have to be true in order to be a good explanation? Does a scientific theory work because the entities it posits really exist? Or is there some other way of explaining the success of science? Should we believe our best current scientific theories are true even though all of our past successful theories have been false? This course introduces students to philosophical methodology and it employs that methodology when exploring these enduring questions.