Academic year
2022/2023 Syllabus of previous years
Official course title
Course code
LT9007 (AF:377173 AR:201020)
On campus classes
ECTS credits
Degree level
Bachelor's Degree Programme
Educational sector code
2nd Term
Course year
Go to Moodle page
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.
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.
1. Elements/tools of logical reasoning (validity; truth value; inference)
2. Forms of inferential reasoning I: Induction/modus ponens; Falsification/modus tollens; abduction/inference to the best explanation
3. Logical formats of scientific method (Aristotle, F.Bacon, Hume, Popper and post-Popperians)
4. Logical formats of scientific explanation (Hempel, Pierce and Lipton)
5. The logic and the ontology of natural kinds; natural and social kinds.

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):
- Gasser-Wingate, Aristotle on Induction and First Principles (2016)
- Rusu, Francis Bacon, The Encyclopedia of Reinaissance Philosophy (2018)
- Ayer, parts from Introduction to Language, Truth and Logic, second edition (London 1960)
- Hume Enquiries, sect 4-7
- Russell, On Induction
- Strawson, parts from Introduction to Logical Theory

NB. The reading lists might be subjected to some revisions during the lecture course, to reflect what will actually be covered during the course.
- Popper, Conjectures and Refutations (Routledge&Kegan Paul 1963), ch.1
- Lakatos, Methodology of scientific research programmes
- Kuhn, from The Structure of Scientific Revolutions
- 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)
- Lipton, Inference to the Best Explanation (Encyclopedia.com)
- Duprè, Natural Kinds
- Montuschi on Hacking&Searle
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.
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.
Definitive programme.
Last update of the programme: 12/07/2022