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Philosophy of Science

Submitted by Anonymous on Fri, 03/30/2007 - 8:22am

Field of Study Exam Reading List

Most of the following essays and chapters are reprinted in Philosophy of Science anthologies.

Explanation, Laws and Causality

Carl Hempel and Paul Oppenheim (1948) “Studies in the Logic of Explanation” Philosophy of Science, Volume 15, pp. 135-175.

Carl Hempel (1965) “Aspects of Scientific Explanation” in Carl Hempel’s Aspects of Scientific Explanation and other Essays in the Philosophy of Science. New York: Free Press, pp. 376-386.

Wesley Salmon (1978) “Why ask ‘Why?’? An Inquiry Concerning Scientific Explanation” Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association, Volume 51, no. 6, pp. 683-705.

Nancy Cartwright (1980) “The Truth Doesn’t Explain Much” American Philosophical Quarterly, Volume 17, no. 2.

Nancy Cartwright (1981) “The Reality of Causes in a World of Instrumental Laws” PSA 1980, volume 2, P. Asquiuth and R. Giere (eds.).

Bas van Frasssen (1980) “The Pragmatics of Explanation” from Bas van Fraassen’s The Scientific Image, Chapter 5.

Scientific Realism

Grover Maxwell (1962) “The Ontological Status of Theoretical Entities” in H. Feigl and G. Maxwell (eds.) Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science, Volume III, Minnesota Press.

Bas van Fraassen (1980) “Arguments concerning Scientific Realism” from Bas van Fraassen’s The Scientific Image, Chapter 2.

Paul Churchland (1982) “The Anti-Realist Epistemology of Van Fraassen’s The Scientific Image” Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, Volume 63.

Ian Hacking (1981) “Experimentation and Scientific Realism” Philosophical Topics, Volume 13.

Arthur Fine (1984) “And Not Anti-Realism Either” Nous, Volume 18.

Progress, Values, and Objectivity

Karl Popper (1965) “Science: Conjectures and Refutations” from Karl Popper’s Conjectures and Refutations: The Growth of Scientific Knowledge, pp. 33-58.

Imre Lakatos (1970) “Falsification and the Methodology of Scientific Research Programmes” from I. Lakatos and A. Musgrave (eds.) Criticism and the Growth of Knowledge, Cambridge University Press.

Thomas Kuhn (1970) “The Nature and Necessity of Scientific Revolutions” from T. Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Chapter 9, University of Chicago Press.

Thomas Kuhn (1977) “Objectivity, Value Judgment, and Theory Choice” from Kuhn’s The Essential Tension: Selected Studies in Scientific Tradition and Change, University of Chicago Press.

Larry Laudan (1984) “Dissecting the Holist Picture of Scientific Change” from Laudan’s Science and Values, Chapter 4, University of California Press.

Helen Longino (1990) “Values and Objectivity” from Longino’s Science as Social Knowledge, pp. 62-82, Princeton University Press.

The Structure of Scientific Theories

Rudolf Carnap (1966) “The Nature of Theories” in Martin Gardner (ed.) Philosophical Foundations of Physics: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Science. Basic Books.

Fredrick Suppe (1972) “What’s Wrong with the Received View of the Structure of Scientific Theories” Philosophy of Science, Volume 39.

Bas van Fraassen (1980) “To Save the Phenomena” from Bas van Frasssen’s The Scientific Image, Chapter 3.

Paul Oppenheim and Hilary Putnam (1958) “Unity of Science as a Working Hypothesis” in H. Feigl, M. Scriven, and G. Maxwell (eds.) Concepts, Theories, and the Mind-Body Problem, Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science, Volume II, pp. 3-36.

Patrick Suppes (1978) “The Plurality of Science” from P.D. Asquith and I. Hacking (eds.) PSA 1978, Volume II, Philosophy of Science Association, pp. 3-16.


David Hume (1748) “ The Problem of Induction”, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, Sections 4-7.

Nelson Goodman (1955) Fact, Fiction, and Forecast, especially chapters 4 and 5.

Carl Hempel (1965) “Studies in the Logic of Confirmation” in Carl Hempel’s Aspects of Scientific Explanation and other Essays in the Philosophy of Science.

Karl Popper (1972) “Conjectural Knowledge: My Solution of the Problem of Induction” in Popper’s Objective Knowledge.

Wesley Salmon (1990) “Rationality and Objectivity in Science or Tom Kuhn meets Tom Bayes, in C. Wade Savage (ed) Scientific Theories, volume 14, Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science.

Sample Questions

1. Should scientific explanations be true?

2. Provide reasons for and against the unity of science.

3. What is scientific objectivity?

4. Discuss and critically examine various solutions to the problem of induction.

5. Explain the significance of the EPR paradox. What are some possible "resolutions"?

6. Compare and critically examine the syntactic with the semantic view of theories?

7. Compare and access the cumulative and revolutionary accounts of scientific progress.

8. Present and examine several prominent accounts of scientific explanation.

9. Compare and critically examine the realist and the instrumentalist view of scientific theories?

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