What is the difference between knowing something and merely having an opinion? What makes an explanation or theory ‘scientific’? What different kinds of explanation are found in different sciences and social sciences? What is the role of narrative and storytelling in explanation and understanding? We will examine these and other questions about the nature of knowledge and the relationship between science and understanding. This is a core subject in Philosophy and will be useful for anyone interested in the nature of knowledge in science, social science, and everyday reasoning.
To get an idea of some of issues that we discuss in PHIL 219, here’s a short video describing the views of Karl Popper, who was an influential philosopher of science in the 20th century.
Knowledge, Science and Understanding is taught by Dr. Patrick McGivern, who is an expert in logic, philosophy of science, and epistemology. He has published work in journals such as Philosophy of Science and Synthese on topics such as emergence and reduction in physics, and the role of modelling in theories of spacetime.