History and Philosophy of Science Minor


What is science? When people ponder this question, they often are led to seek answers outside the sciences themselves. This interdisciplinary minor helps students address historical and philosophical questions about science. The history of science asks: How did we come to hold the beliefs we do about the natural world? How were the great scientists of the past led to the discoveries for which they are remembered? Why did people in the past have very different ideas on issues like the motions of the heavens or the nature of the human body? It is a puzzling reality of world history that the human understanding of nature, society, and the mind has varied greatly with place and time. This intriguing variety also raises philosophical questions: What separates science from pseudoscience or religion? How can we decide whether scientific knowledge will have good or bad consequences for humanity? Can science ever reach the ultimate truth about the universe?

The minor in history and philosophy of science offers courses in such diverse departments as economics, history, mathematics, philosophy, and psychology. It presupposes no specialized scientific background and may be combined with any undergraduate major. Five 4-credit courses are required for the minor, with no more than three from any single department.

Students interested in taking the minor should contact the coordinator, Jan Golinski, Department of History, Horton Social Science Center, e-mail jan.golinski@unh.edu.

Select five of the following:20
Topics 1
Economic Problems 1
Origins of Modern Science
Science in the Modern World
History of American Thought
History of American Thought
Topics in European Intellectual History
Topics in History of Science
Humanities and Science: The Nature of Scientific Creativity
Science, Technology, and Society
Human Nature and Evolution
Artificial Intelligence, Robots, and People
Neuroscience and Philosophy
Special Topics 1
Pioneers of Psychology
Special Topics 1
Total Credits20

 With approval.