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Introduction to the Philosophy of Science and Research Methodology for Computer Scientists, vettig14

General information

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Course literature:

Samir Okasha: Philosophy of Science, A Very Short Introduction. Oxford 2002. ISBN 978-0-19-280283-5.

Nicholas Walliman: Research Methods, The Basics. Routledge 2011. ISBN 978-0-415-48991-1.



Johan Karlander,, 790 6340

Course Assistent

Linda Kann,, 790 9276

Short description of the course

All students at a technical university are confronted with science. It is a bit surprising that they so seldom are given the opportunity to reflect on what science really is. This course is intended to provide an introduction to a more general perspective on science. We will address questions such as:
  • What is science?
  • Are there methods common to different sciences?
  • What distinguishes the scientific approach ?
  • What distinguishes the scientist's social role ?
  • What ethical problems might a scientist be facing ?
We will familiarize ourselves with the classical theory of science and go through some history of science. We will then make a more detailed study of mathematics and computer science. To some extent , the course will be philosophical in nature, but we will, where possible try to show how general scientific principles can be used to solve some concrete problems.

Teaching method

The course consists of 12 x 2- hour lectures and 10 x 2- hour seminars. The idea is that 15 to 20 students will participate in the seminars. At the seminars, we discuss science issues and articles. All students are expected to participate in the discussions.


The course has 3 sections :
  • TEN1 - Tentamen, 3,0 hp, graded: A, B, C, D, E, FX, F
  • HEM1 - Övningsuppgifter, 1,5 hp, graded: P, F
  • HEM2 - Uppsats, 1,5 hp, graded: P, F


There are two exams; one for grade E and one for higher grades. The first, but not the second is mandatory. The exam for E-grade can be done by answering control questions after each lecture. If you have missed some lectures you can complement by doing an exam at the end of the course. This exam is done in writing with opportunity to make oral supplementation afterwards. You will get one or two questions for each lecture you have missed. You should prepare yourself by reading the lecture notes. The exam takes up to 30 minutes.

The exam for higher grades is done orally. Answer questions in groups of up to four people. The requirements are:

C-level: you should be able to describe in detail the content of the lectures and seminars. You prepare best by reading the lecture notes, materials from the seminars and the course book. .

A-level: you should be able to apply everything you've learned in the course of new unexpected issues. You prepare best by reading lecture notes, materials from seminars and the course book.


This part of the course consists of attendance at the seminars. To most of the seminars there are some preparations you are supposed to do in written form. On some seminars you will make a short oral presentation of a topic.


You will write a report on a specific problem during the course. This report should be finished at the end of December 2014. More information about this will soon appear. This essay will be graded A-F. The final course grade will be an equal weighting of this rating and the exam grade.

Attendance at seminars

You should participate in all seminars. We are subject in principle to the presence and participation in all workshops. If you, for whatever reason, cannot participate on a particular seminar will, however, be able to make an extra assignment as compensation.

Grading criteria

To pass the course you must get grade E, D, C, B or A on TEN1, grade P on HEM1 and grade E, D, C, B or A on HEM2. For the different grades we generally require that you should

Grade Learning outcome
E Be able to describe the main results, principles and techniques that are examined in this course.
D Meet the requirements for grade E and partly meet the requirements for grade C.
C In a given analysis of a scientific problem to be able to determine if the results, the principles and methods used in a correct way.
B Meet the requirements of grade C and partly meet the requirements for grade a.
A In new scientific problems are able to use the results, principles and methods in a creative way to analyze and evaluate the problem.

The final grade is weighed as the mean value of the grades on TEN1 and HEM2.

For grade P on HEM1 we require presence at all seminars (missed the seminar can be recouped by making an extra assignment) and an approved presentation at a seminar and you do all the preparation works.

For grade P on HEM2 we require that the essay is reasonably well written and reasonably related to the practices in this course. Internally is also do a quality rating E-A, The final grade will be an average of the grade on TEN1 and the internal grade on HEM2, given that the grade on HEM1 is P.


A preliminary date for the exam for grade E is December 18. A preliminary date for the higer grade exam is December 19.


Week Event Subject Reading
37 F1 Introduction. What is Philosophy of Science?
38 F2 Induction and the HD-method
Sem 1 Basic Science.
39 F3 The HD-method and Bayesianism.
Sem 2 The History of Science. HD-method.
40 F4 Causes and Explanations.
Sem 3 Research Methods and Projects.
41 F5 Scientific Methodology.
Sem 4 To formulate a project.
45 F6 Realism and Anti-realism.
Sem 5 To write a summary.
46 F7 The Philosophy of Kuhn and some mathematical problems.
Sem 6 Stages in a Master's Project.
47 F8 Ethics in Science
Sem 7 Computer Science
48 F9 Methodological questions concerning data, simulations and statistics.
Sem 8 Simulation and probabilistic problems.
49 F10 Guest lecture by Johan Boye.
Sem 9
50 F11 The Role of Science in Society
Sem 10
51 F12 To be decided later.
18 Dec Exam E-grade
19 Dec Exam Higher grades
Copyright © Sidansvarig: Johan Karlander <>
Uppdaterad 2014-11-27