Philosophy of Science

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What, exactly, is science? What is scientific inquiry and explanation, and how might it differ from other forms of inquiry and explanation? In the course, we will investigate the nature and status of scientific knowledge. Along the way, we shall ask such questions as: What are scientific theories? What relations obtain between scientific theories and observed facts? How are scientific theories confirmed or disconfirmed? Do scientific theories represent the true nature of the world, or are they merely convenient tools for making predictions and developing technology? Is scientific inquiry a purely rational process? Is it influenced by social and cultural factors? What makes science successful?

3 credits

Course Code: HUM 357

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.