Academic year 2019/2020 Syllabus of previous years
Course code LT9007 (AF:302490 AR:166686)
Modality Frontal Lesson
ECTS credits 6
Degree level Bachelor's Degree Programme
Educational sector code M-FIL/02
Period 2nd Term
Course year 1
Spazio Moodle Link allo spazio del corso
Contribution of the course to the overall degree programme goals
There are two main reasons that put this course firmly within the remit of the PISE degree course, and that also justify why logic is paired with philosophy of science in the title of this lecture course.
First, learning about logic is not to be viewed as an end in itself, but as an opportunity to acquire tools of reasoning and argumentation that can be used and applied in a wide range of contexts – from everyday to specialised/disciplinary domains – some of which are covered by the PISE degree.
Secondly, learning about science will give an opportunity to reflect on what logical traits are at work in scientific reasoning and why those traits purportedly make science an exemplar of rigorous inquiry for many disciplines (including some covered by the PISE degree: economics, sociology, politics, etc.). The study of logical reasoning in the context of science, its normative potential and its limits are among the tasks of the philosophy of science.

- some historical pointers in the development of the philosophy of science between 20th and 21st centuries

- some basic terminology in the philosophy of science (analytic tradition)

- some appreciation of the role of logic in the description and analysis of aspects of scientific reasoning

- some appreciation of possible applications and use of logic outside the realm of logic.
Expected learning outcomes
1) some understanding of what logic is and what its possible applications are
2) knowledge of some basic logical terminology, of the main forms of inference in classic logic, and acquaintance with some of the problems and challenges they pose to correct reasoning
3) knowledge of some basic terminology and of the main debates in the development of the philosophy of science in the analytic tradition
4) some appreciation of the role of logic and of its limits in the description and analysis of aspects of scientific reasoning



This course will not assume any knowledge either in logic or philosophy of science from students.
1. Elements/tools of logical reasoning: From Aristotle to Frege (validity; truth value; inference; types of logic, logic symbolisms)
2. Forms of inferential reasoning I: Induction/modus ponens (how to solve Hume’s ‘problem of induction’; induction as ‘the logic of science’)
3. Forms of inferential reasoning II: Falsification/modus tollens (Popper and his critics)
4. Mixed Inference (abduction/retroduction/inference to the best explanation)
5. The ‘logic’ vs. the ‘ontology’ of science (models of explanation; the realism/anti-realism debate)

Referral texts
1) Introductory book in philosophyof science: Chalmers, D., What is this thing called science, (3rd edition 1999, Open University Press), except chs 3, 4, 12, 13.
NB. The text does not cover all topics dealt with in the course
2) reading material covering individual topics in the lecture course (availbale on Moodle):
- Ayer, parts from Introduction to Language, Truth and Logic, second edition (London 1960)
- Popper, Conjectures and Refutations (Routledge&Kegan Paul 1963), ch.1
- Hanson, ‘Is there a logic of scientific discovery?’, in Herbert Feigl, Grover Maxwell, Current Issues in the Philosophy of Science (Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1961)
- Hanson, Patterns of Discovery (Cambridge University Press 1958), ch.1
- Hempel, Philosophy of Natural Science (Prentice-Hal;l, NJ1966), ch. 2
- Hempel, from ch 10 of Aspects of Scientific Explanation (The Free press, NY 1965)
- Hacking, Representing and Intervening (Cambridge University Press 1983), ch.1
- McMullin, ‘Two Ideals of Explanation’, Midwest Studies in Philosophy IX 1984
Assessment methods
Final assessment is by a two-hours written examination. The exam will consist of three questions, each addressing an issue arisen from the topics discussed during the course. In each answer the student will have to demonstrate both a basic understanding of the issues and a capacity for answering each question in a well argued and focused manner. The grade received for the course depends on exam performance only. However, keeping up with the reading assigned for each lecture and, where possible, participating in discussion are the most effective ways to prepare for exams. It is also an effective way for students to monitor their strengths and weaknesses, and to discover and remedy gaps in their understanding, all in good time ahead of exams.
Teaching methods
Each topic will be introduced by a lecture that will present the central aspects of the topic, the different perspectives from which to address it, and examples that illustrate the relevance of abstract theoretical reasoning to the practical understanding of scientific discourse. Questions and discussion are encouraged.
Teaching language
Type of exam
Definitive programme.
Last update of the programme