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Undergraduate Module Descriptor

PHL2100: Knowledge and History: Theories of Scientific Change

This module descriptor refers to the 2018/9 academic year.

Module Content

Syllabus Plan

Whilst the module’s precise content may vary from year to year, it is envisaged that the syllabus will cover some or all of the following topics:

Introduction: Scientific Progress and Truth

The Scientific Revolution I: Galileo
The Scientific Revolution II: Hobbes vs. Boyle
Logical Atomism, Verificationism, and Falsificationism
Methodology of Scientific Research Programs
The Structure of Scientific Revolutions
Sociology of Science: The Strong Programme
Genesis of a Scientific Fact
Historical Epistemology
The New Pragmatism
Summary and Conclusion

Learning and Teaching

This table provides an overview of how your hours of study for this module are allocated:

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

...and this table provides a more detailed breakdown of the hours allocated to various study activities:

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching activity 22Weekly two-hour seminars, introduced by a 45 min. lecture from the lecturer. Each seminar will focus on a classical book. It will include 20-30 min. group presentations (depending on number of students in the group) on these books, followed by in-depth discussions of the concepts and arguments employed. A section from the book will be selected as required reading for all seminar participants
Guided independent study 128A variety of private study activities guided by your module leader. Most of this time (60 hours) is going to be spent on reading the assigned books. In addition, you will be pointed to secondary literature on these books, and asked to do your own research for literature on JSTOR and similar on-line repositories for philosophical literature (30 hours). Based on this work, you will be asked to prepare one assessed group presentation of 20 mins (8 hours), one essay plan consisting of a short proposal and literature review (10 hours), and an essay of 2500 words (20 hours).

Online Resources

This module has online resources available via ELE (the Exeter Learning Environment).

Lecture notes and reading lists are made available through ELE:
A good online source in general for background reading in philosophy is the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy at