Epperson - CSUS - Philosophy 002 - Philosophical Ethics
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History & Philosophy
of Science Program

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This course explores the historical evolution of contemporary physical science from its innovative conceptual foundations in the early modern period. Along the way, we will examine the ways in which these revolutionary innovations themselves can be seen as evolutionary innovations—a history of natural philosophical inquiry and methodology that can be traced back through the medieval period to antiquity. Some of these revolutionary/evolutionary innovations include the replacement of geocentric cosmology with heliocentrism, the rise of the hypothetico-deductive ‘scientific’ method, the development of new techniques and technologies of observation, and the rise of formal mathematical models. While past historians of science had established the conventional term “Scientific Revolution” to collectively describe these innovations, modern scholarship in history and philosophy of science (HPS), which more rigorously examines both the history and the conceptual content of scientific ideas, has done much to illuminate the evolutionary character of these innovations.

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As a result, contemporary history and philosophy of science recognizes that the rise of modern science is understood properly not as a single historical period in time, but rather as an extensive process of formal, natural philosophical inquiry whose roots
begin in antiquity and whose ascent and role in society continues to evolve.

Within the discipline of history, this course falls within the framework of the history of ideas--a field of research in history that deals with the expression, preservation, and evolution of ideas. The history of ideas is a central component of the discipline of intellectual history. Intellectual history refers to the historiography of ideas and thinkers, and, as practiced by historians, can include the history of philosophy and the history of science.

Intended audience: This course is open to all students. No prerequisites or specialized knowledge is required. For history majors, this course will count towards a European history elective. Other majors, contact your department chair.

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