History and Philosophy of Science. Candidate Examinations (DG060026)


Course Memo

The aim of this course is to give to Skoltech students and postgraduates basic information about the main stages of the development of science from its birth in Ancient Greece through the Middle Ages and the Renaissance to Modern Times and to the great scientific revolutions of the XX century. Every man of culture especially a future scientist should know the impact of such great thinkers as Plato, Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, John Buridan, Nicholas of Cusa, Copernicus, Galileo, Descartes, Newton, Boscovich, Darwin, Mendel, Bohr and Einstein (omitting many other brilliant names, that would be spoken about in the frames of the course) to the development of a scientific picture of the universe. Also there will be discussed the main topics and notions of the philosophy of science: demarcation between science and humanities, Popper’s theory of falsification, Kuhn’s theory of scientific revolutions, philosophical ideas of Lakatos and Feyerabend. The course will consist of 18 3-hour lectures and 6 examination sessions (3 hour each). The students are to submit 6 written essays in English on the following themes: 1. Ancient Greek and Roman Science; 2. Medieval and Renaissance Science; 3. Scientific Revolution of the XVII century; 4. Science in the XVIII and XIX century; 5. Science in the XX-XXI centuries; 6. Philosophy of Science. For the final exam the students should prepare 10-15 minutes oral presentation on the scientific problem they are currently working upon, or on some topic connected with history of science and/or philosophy. Lectures 1-3 are devoted to the Ancient Greek and Roman Science Lectures 4-6 are devoted to Medieval and Renaissance Science Lectures 7-9 are devoted to the Scientific Revolution of the XVII century Lectures 10-12 are devoted to Science in the XVIII and XIX century Lectures 13-15 are devoted to Science in the XX-XXI centuries Lectures 16-18 are devoted to the Philosophy of Science