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2020/2021  BA-BSOCO1843U  Philosophy of Science

English Title
Philosophy of Science

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Mandatory
Level Bachelor
Duration One Semester
Start time of the course Spring
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Study board
Study Board for BSc in Business Administration and Sociology
Course coordinator
  • Liv Egholm - Department of Management, Politics and Philosophy (MPP)
Main academic disciplines
  • Methodology and philosophy of science
Teaching methods
  • Blended learning
Last updated on 15-12-2020

Relevant links

Learning objectives
On successful completion of this course, the student should have acquired basic knowledge about some of the main ideas of science which have informed and still inform the social sciences.
More specifically, the student should be able to:
  • give an account of the basic ontological and epistemological assumptions within the different philosophy of science traditions presented in the syllabus;
  • locate the theoretical positions and key concepts in a broader philosophy of science context;
  • identify central similarities and differences between the main ideas and concepts within the different philosophy of science traditions presented in the syllabus; and
  • discuss and reflect upon the theoretical and methodological considerations in the 2nd year project against the background of different philosophy of science traditions.
Philosophy of Science:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Home assignment - written product
Individual or group exam Individual exam
Size of written product Max. 5 pages
Assignment type Essay
Duration 48 hours to prepare
Grading scale 7-point grading scale
Examiner(s) One internal examiner
Exam period Summer
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Course content, structure and pedagogical approach

Philosophy of knowledge is the backbone in all scholarly work because it is concerned with the conditions for saying that some statements are more correct than others. In other words, it provides the basis for calling some knowledge ‘scientific’, ‘true’, or ‘correct’ because philosophy of knowledge provides the fundamental rules by which to judge and evaluate so-called knowledge claims. Hence, by taking this course, students will learn how different ideas about the world and about knowledge lead to different ways of understanding what true knowledge is.


This allows students to establish scholarly arguments themselves, as well as improving their ability to understand and criticise other knowledge claims. This is not only relevant in academic work but also in knowledge-intensive work contexts where different kinds of statements have to be dissected.

The course will demonstrate how different perceptions of the world have consequences for the way we describe and explain it. The course will show how the different perspectives are informed by meta-theoretical assumptions as well as different understanding of what science is. While the course should be seen in relation to all the courses on the programme, the exam is related to the ‘2nd year project’. During the workshops we will discuss themes that are related to other courses in the programme but the overall thrust of the course is aimed towards a general introduction to the philosophy of social science.


Aim of the course

The aim of this course is to provide the student with

(1) a general insight into the different conceptions of science which have informed social sciences to this day;

(2) knowledge about different perceptions of the society and the individual, rooted in the ontological and epistemological assumptions of different philosophy of science traditions;

(3) knowledge about the conceptual and methodological consequences of applying different philosophy of science traditions in project-work and the ability to integrate it in own project-work.


The course is an introduction to philosophy of science and will provide both knowledge as well as tools to identify the general paradigms which have informed the social sciences. As such, it relates to the other courses in the programme in such a way that it provides the meta-theories for the other courses as well as for the 2nd year project. Students will not only engage with meta-theoretical assumptions but also with how to identify these assumptions in their own and others' work.

Description of the teaching methods
Lectures/workshops which will be based on a combination of videos, lectures, quizzes, group work and classroom discussions and which will integrate case-teaching.
Blended learning will be used during the course. It is expected that students will participate actively in classes and contribute during the lectures.

A heavy workload is to be expected covering difficult theoretical readings, individual preparation and group work between classes, and a minor written group assignment/​essay/​casework to present and discuss in class.
Feedback during the teaching period
The course is based on continuous feedback in lectures, on home assignments and in workshops. It is given during the course in the following four ways:
1. The teacher gives collective oral feedback on assignments (either in the lectures or orally on Canvas).
2. Oral feedback is given collectively at the lectures based on student answers in live quizzes (polling) and casework.
3. The workshops are specifically created as feedback sessions based both on peer-review and general oral teacher feedback. Concerning the workshop activities, the teacher will provide continuous feedback at the workshop and provide final feedback on the entries.
4: Quizzes and other IT-tools are used on Canvas and secure individual feedback on the students' progression and understanding of the syllabus.

The course coordinator/instructor decides when to use which methods.

After the exam is graded, general written feedback by the teacher is uploaded on Canvas, and the students are offered a slot for additional feedback.
Student workload
Lectures 36 hours
Preparation & blended learning 170 hours
Last updated on 15-12-2020