# Syllabus: Introduction to the Philosophy of Science, Fall Term 2017

1. Course: PHIL 220–A.  Concordia University.  Credits: 3.
2. Time & Place: Mon.  and Wed.  11:45 AM–1:00 PM, Room H 420, Campus SGW
3. Instructor: Ulf Hlobil, Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Concordia University.
Office phone:   (514) 848-2424 ext. 2536
E-mail:   please use email only for administrative issues and solicited items; other substantive philosophical discussion should happen in person because email doesn't suit it:
ulf.hlobil@concordia.ca
Office hours:   Monday 10:00–11:30, or by appointment, in S-M 309 (2145 Mackay).
4. Notice: In the event of extraordinary circumstances beyond the university's control (e.g.  a strike), the course contents, evaluation scheme and other parts of this syllabus may be subject to change.


## 4 Lecture Schedule and Assignments

I recommend two general resources for when you have difficulties understanding the readings: Simon Blackburn, Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005, ${2}^{nd}$ ed.) and the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (online at: http://plato.stanford.edu). If you are looking around for additional background readings, http://philpapers.org/ is a good place to start.

### 4.1 Unit 1: Basics

1. Readings: Stemwedel, Janet D. (2014), “What is philosophy of science (and should scientists care)?”, Scientific American, published online on April ${7}^{th}$, 2014, at: https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/doing-good-science/what-is-philosophy-of-science-and-should-scientists-care/
Hlobil, U. (2017), “What is Philosophy?”, unpublished manuscript by instructor; available on Moodle.
Analyzing Arguments

## 5 Class Requirements, Policies, and Grading

### 5.1 General Rules & Advice

Assignments: $\phantom{\rule{10px}{0ex}}$ Start your writing assignments early. Writing a philosophy paper takes time. Please consult my “Reading and Writing Philosophy” before you start working on a paper. An excellent set of tips on how to write good philosophy texts is also provided by Prof. Jim Pryor on this webpage: http://www.jimpryor.net/teaching/guidelines/writing.html. You must keep a copy of all your work—your original submissions as well as graded copies I return to you. According to the calendar (16.3.9.2), “students are responsible for the preservation of any material, in its entire and original form, which has been returned to them.” It hence is a good idea to regularly back up your data.
Laptops, phones, tablets, etc.: $\phantom{\rule{10px}{0ex}}$ New research shows that students who use laptops or phones or iPods and the like in class perform markedly more poorly than others and unfairly diminish the performance of others (see here and here). As Maryellen Weimer, an author for Faculty Focus, puts it here: “students are way too convinced that multitasking is a great way to work. They think they can do two or three tasks simultaneously and not compromise the quality of what they produce. Research says that about 5% of us multitask effectively. Proof of the negative effects of multitasking in learning environments is now coming from a variety of studies.”
Religious or Cultural Holidays: $\phantom{\rule{10px}{0ex}}$ If you celebrate holidays that the university calendar does not accommodate and this creates any kind of conflict with this course, please see me about this at least one month prior to the holiday; I will consider such matters on a case-by-case basis.

### 5.2 Grading and Requirements

Bonus Points: $\phantom{\rule{10px}{0ex}}$ In some randomly selected classes you can earn bonus points (up to a total of 2.5 bonus points for the whole course). Typically this will consist in completing a short task that concern the readings at the beginning of class. Such bonus tasks will typically take one of two forms: either you complete a very small set of short-answer questions, or in a paragraph or two you answer a question I give you. Neither the accuracy or quality of your work on these tasks will be scored; the tasks will only be scored as completed or not. The purposes of these bonus points is, in part, to encourage you to attend all classes, to help you compensate for poor performance on other components of the course, and to help improve your performance on other components of the course by practicing answering the kinds of questions you will see on those other components.

### 5.3 Academic Integrity and Plagiarism

Plagiarism and academic dishonesty are highly disruptive of the learning that we should be doing here. Should I detect any form of academic dishonesty, including plagiarizing from the internet, from books, journals, other students, etc., I will report it directly to the Vice-Dean of Academic Affairs. The penalties for plagiarism tend to be rather severe, and in any case undermine your learning process. So avoid it. In case of doubt as to what counts at plagiarism, ask me. Cite your sources and inspirations; this enriches your ideas by showing their roots in the thoughts of other people, and does not detract from your exposition, articulation, and development of ideas.