The course of Philosophy of Science is part of the program in Philosophy and it is included among the characterizing training activities. The course is an introduction to the key problems of the philosophy of science. Among these, students will have to familiarize with issues concerning the nature of scientific explanation, of laws of nature, of the relationship between hypothesis and evidence, and of the cognitive content of scientific theories in light of radical scientific changes. These general topics will be introduced by a direct reading of some classics of 20th century philosophy of science, with the aim to develop the competences that are necessary to formulate and evaluate philosophical arguments.
Students will be able to apply the knowledge acquired in the discussion and argument both from a theoretical and a historical-philosophical perspective. At the end of the course the student will acquire:
-) Ability to analyze and interpret philosophical texts;
-) Properties of language and argumentation;
-) Ability to contextualize the acquired knowledge in the Philosophical debate.


teacher profile | teaching materials


The course aims at introducing the key questions of the philosophy and methodology of science, among these the competing theories of scientific explanation, the nature of scientific method, the relation between hypotheses and evidence and the cognitive content of scientific theories in light of their historical change and the demarcation between science and philosophy. While the first part of the course will consist in an introduction to these general topics (by using Okasha’s and Gillies and Giorello's texts), in the second, longer part we will read and comment three classics authors of 20th century philosophy of science, namely Karl Popper, Carl Hempel and Rudolf Carnap. The fundamental problem raised in the course is the objectivity of scientific knowledge.

Core Documentation

D. Gillies, Philosophy of Science in the twentieth century. Four central themes. Oxford-Cambridge, Mass, 1993
Karl .R. Popper, Scienza e Filosofia, Einaudi, Torino, 2000.
S. Okasha Philosophy of Science. A very short introduction, Oxford University Press, 2002
Carl G. Hempel, Philosophy of natural sciences Prentice Hall, 1966 (chapters available on the teacher's personal website)
Rudolf Carnap, Philosophical foundations of physics, 1966 (chapters available on the teacher's personal website)
Mauro Dorato. Cosa c'entra l'anima con gli atomi? 2017 2 ed., Laterza, Roma (Reichenbach not available)

Reference Bibliography

Robert Klee, Introduction to Philosophy of science. OUP, 1997 Gerhard Schurz, Philosophy of Science, Routledge Kent Staley, Introduction to Philosophy of science, CUP, 2014

Type of delivery of the course

Traditional lectures if allowed by the sanitary conditions. Otherwise on line

Type of evaluation

brief answers to questions covering the entire program, duration of the test 2 hours