Philosophy of Science


1. To identify rationality parameters operating in scientific practice and the philosophical concepts and principles sustaining it.
2. To identify the key scientific paradigms and their philosophical assumptions.
3. To recognize and spell out with accuracy the philosophical questions raised by scientific knowledge.
4. To get to know some of the most relevant literature in the field of philosophy of science.
5. To recognize the specificity of recent contributions within philosophy of science

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Pietro Gori


Weekly - 4

Total - 168

Teaching language





Ladyman, J. (2002): Understanding Philosophy of Science, London and New York: Routledge.
Okasha, S. (2016): Philosophy of Science. A Very Short Introduction, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Rovelli, C. (2018): “Physics Needs Philosophy. Philosophy Needs Physics”, in Foundations of Physics 48/5, pp. 481-491.
Kuhn, T. (2012 4 ): The Structure of Scientific Revolution, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press (ou tradução portuguesa)
Popper, K. (2002): Conjectures and Refutations: The Growth of Scientific Knowledge, London: Routledge (ou tradução portuguesa. Os capítulos abordados serão indicados durante o curso)

Teaching method

The course will have a double explanatory and hands-on approach. There will be theoretical classes, designed to introduce and frame the ideas of several philosophers, as well as to formulate and expand the problems under review; and classes more focused on the analysis and discussion of the literature. Students will have access to the texts to be discussed and should prepare them
before class.

Evaluation method

One written test at the end of the course(60%), One written test at the middle of the course(40%)

Subject matter

The course will deal with Carlo Rovelli’s paper “Physics Needs Philosophy. Philosophy Needs Physics” (2018), with the attempt to analyse and discuss it thoroughly. During the first part of the course, the conceptual framework of the history and philosophy of science will be outlined. Aim of this part is that the students will gain the basic instrument to individually approach the matter and to develop a critical reflection on the fundamental topics pertaining to the history and philosophy of science. The course will especially deal with (a) the
relationship between science and philosophy; (b) the basic features of scientific knowledge; (c) the debate on the scientific development and its methodology; (d) the issue of scientific explanation; (e) the problem of realism vs. anti-realism. The second part of the course will approach the two classic views which Carlo Rovelli deals with in his paper: Karl Popper’s “falsificationism” and Thomas Kuhn’s “revolutionary" conception of science.


Programs where the course is taught: