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This is the study programme for 2019/2020. It is subject to change.


This course approaches science from different angles: The philosophy of science, including various topics related to science and the environment, and methods applied in social research, with an emphasis on research design. The overall aim is to present current understanding of scientific activities, especially within the social sciences, and to stimulate critical thinking by examining a selection of original perspectives on science and the current state of global ecology. In addition to philosophy and research methodology, the course draws on disciplines such as semiotics, ethology and human ecology.

Learning outcome

Knowledge
Students who successfully complete the course will be able to:
  • demonstrate knowledge about what science is and how it is conducted.
  • demonstrate knowledge about historical and current global human ecology, and the perceptual worlds of animals.
  • understand current perspectives on social research.
  • acquire a frame of reference and concepts that enable them to classify and evaluate scientific contributions from several social science disciplines.

Skills
Students who successfully complete the course will be able to:
  • apply and analyse various theories of science.
  • reflect on the placement of particular types of research within science at large.
  • reflect critically on different perspectives on science and the environment.
  • understand the relevance of different research methods, both quantitative and qualitative.
  • be able to participate in the methodology discussions in empirical social sciences.
  • be able to evaluate social science research.

General Competence
Students who successfully complete the course will acquire the following skills:
  • Capacity for analysis of research based on fundamental philosophy of science.
  • Capacity for contextualizing specific environmental problems with regard to more general perspectives on science and the environment.
  • Ability to reflect on the placement of human beings within nature at large.
  • Ability to relate critically to the choice and application of different research methods.
  • An epistemological foundation for life-long learning.

Contents

The course consists of two elements: introduction to the philosophy of science, including selected topics related to perspectives on science and the environment, and an introduction to research methods in social research, with emphasis on research design.
The introduction to the philosophy of science envelops important concepts such as science, reasoning, knowledge, and rationality. Selected topics related to perspectives on science and the environment covers a fundamental description of biosemiotics and zoosemiotics in the tradition after biologist Jakob von Uexküll, the Anthropocene concept and a notion of global species, and deep ecology and other eco-philosophy with Norwegian roots.
Both elements of the course will be taught making use of first lectures and then teacher-assisted seminars. In the seminars on research methods in social research, the students will be tasked with assessing academic credibility and stipulating research.

Required prerequisite knowledge

None.

Exam

Weight Duration Marks Aid
Essay1/17 daysA - F
The length of the essay should be approximately 3.000 words including reference list.

Coursework requirements

Participation in group assignment in the philosophy of science., Participation in group assignment in research methods
Compulsory activities:
1) Participation in group assignment in the philosophy of science.
2) Participation in group assignment in research methods.

Course teacher(s)

Course coordinator
Tarjei Mandt Larsen , Morten Tønnessen
Course teacher
Torvald Øgaard
Programme coordinator
Oluf Langhelle

Method of work

Lectures, seminars, in-class oral presentations.

Overlapping courses

Course Reduction (SP)
Research Methodology and Philosophy (MHR180_1) 10

Open to

City and Regional Planning - Master of Science
Energy, Environment and Society - masterstudium
Societal safety - Master's degree programme

Course assessment

Student evaluation will be carried out in accordance with the Faculty of Social Science evaluation system.

Literature

Mandatory readings
Abram, David (1997). Time, Space and the Eclipse of the Earth. Part I: Abstraction. In The Spell of the Sensuous. Perception and Language in a More-than-Human World, New York: Vintage Books, pp. 181-201.
Bortolotti, Lisa (2008). An Introduction to the Philosophy of Science. Cambridge, UK and Malden, MA, USA: Polity. 199 pp.
Emmeche, Claus, Kalevi Kull and Frederik Stjernfelt (2002). A Biosemiotic Building: 13 Theses. In Emmeche, Kull and Stjernfelt (eds.), Reading Hoffmeyer, Rethinking Biology (Tartu Semiotics Library 3), 13-24.
Maran, Timo, Morten Tønnessen, Riin Magnus, Nelly Maekivi, Silver Rattasepp and Kadri Tuur 2016. Introducing Zoosemiotics: Philosophy and Historical Background. In Maran, Tønnessen and Rattasepp (eds), Animal Umwelten in a changing world - Zoosemiotic perspectives. Tartu: Tartu University Press, 10-28.
Maran, Timo, Morten Tønnessen, Kadri Tuur, Riin Magnus, Silver Rattasepp and Nelly Maekivi (2016). Methodology of Zoosemiotics: Concepts, Categorizations, Models. In Maran, Tønnessen and Rattasepp (eds), Animal Umwelten in a changing world - Zoosemiotic perspectives. Tartu: Tartu University Press, 29-50.
Neuman, W. L. (2008). Understanding Research. Addison-Wesley.
Næss, Arne (1973). The Shallow and the Deep, Long Range Ecology Movement. A Summary. Inquiry 16 (1-4), 95-100.
Næss, Arne (1993). The Politics of the Deep Ecology Movement. In Peter Reed and David Rothenberg (eds.), Wisdom in the Open Air. The Norwegian Roots of Deep Ecology, Minneapolis and London: University of Minneapolis Press, pp. 82-99.
Polanyi, Michael (1962). The Republic of Science: Its Political and Economic Theory. Minerva, I(1), 54-73.
Steffen, Will, Jacques Grinevald, Paul Crutzen, and John McNeill (2011). The Anthropocene: Conceptual and Historical Perspectives. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London A 369(1938), 842-867.
Tønnessen, Morten (2010). The Global Species. New formations: a journal of culture/theory/politics 69, 98-110.
von Uexküll, Jakob (2010 [1934/1940]), A Foray into the Worlds of Animals and Humans with A Theory of Meaning (Posthumanities 12), Minneapolis and London: University of Minneapolis Press, pp. 44-70 and 126-135.
Zapffe, Peter Wessel 1993 [1933]. The Last Messiah. In Peter Reed and David Rothenberg (eds.), Wisdom in the Open Air. The Norwegian Roots of Deep Ecology, Minneapolis and London: University of Minneapolis Press, pp. 40-52.
Recommended readings
American Psychological, Association (2010). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Warburton, Nigel (2004). Philosophy: The Essential Study Guide. London: Routledge.
Certain adjustments in literature might be made. Any adjustments will be announced in CANVAS before teaching starts.


This is the study programme for 2019/2020. It is subject to change.

Sist oppdatert: 10.12.2019