History and Philosophy of Science



Welcome to the History and Philosophy of Science Website! While it’s still very much a work in progress, the site will be useful to scientists and non-scientists alike. The site aims to increase scientific literacy by discussing:

• The major scientific achievements throughout the past two millennia in relatively non-technical terms and with an abundance of three-dimensional animations. Thinkers discussed include:
o Copernicus
o Galileo
o Newton
o Lavoisier
o Darwin
o Einstein
o Bohr
o Watson and Crick
o Wegener

• The scientific method
o Identifying research problems
o Hypothesis formation
o Collecting data
o Hypothesis and theory revision
o Causal inference
o Statistical inference
o Theory confirmation
o Theory application and technology

• Philosophical issues that arise in the context of science
o What distinguishes science from other human activities, e.g., religion or art?
o What, if anything, is the scientific method?

• Which forms of reasoning are most central to scientific rationality?

• Is there a set of methods that apply to all sciences at all times, or does scientific methodology vary according to the historical, social, and/or psychological circumstances of a scientist?

• Is it irrational to disregard the scientific method?
o Can science be rational and informed by social factors such as scientists’ power relations and interests?
o To what extent can/should all other sciences be compared with physics?
o Is successful science necessarily true, or is it merely useful tool for predicting and controlling our environment?