Minor in History and Philosophy of Science

Program Contact: Anat Biletzki 203-582-3930

This interdisciplinary program seeks to introduce students to the historical, philosophical and sociological issues raised by the dominant place that science has assumed in our world. Science is defined broadly to encompass both scientific theory and practical applications of scientific knowledge. To pursue a minor in history and philosophy of science therefore means to consider technology, the practice of medicine, the health sciences, and aspects of the human sciences in addition to the traditional physical, chemical and biological sciences. Students develop the skills to understand, assess and critique the place of, and changes in, science and technology and to evaluate the ways in which these changes impact society.

Students also explore and understand the pace of change in science and technology and develop critical thinking and writing skills applicable to a broad range of professional pursuits such as technical writing or science journalism. The program is designed to expose students to a wide range of courses offered by different schools throughout the university, while establishing a solid foundation in the humanistic tradition of the arts and sciences. The course of study is designed to build upon the knowledge and skills developed in the student’s major by providing a greater interdisciplinary scope and a consideration of philosophical, historical and ethical issues on topics relating to science and technology.

History and Philosophy Minor Curriculum

To complete a minor in history and philosophy of science, students are required to complete six courses (18 credits). All students take both The Rise of Modern Science (HS 230) and Philosophy of Science (PL 235). In addition, students take 12 credits from the list of approved courses:

AN 337Anthropology of Health and Medicine3
BIO 205Bioethics3
BIO 383Evolution3
BMS 117The Human Organism3
BMS 278Research and Technology3
BMS 474Power of Plagues3
CSC 101Introduction to Internet Studies3
CSC 350Intelligent Systems3
EC 363American Economic History3
HS 220American Environmental History3
HS 330History of Western Medicine3
HS 394Doctors, Disease, and Death in the Western World4
HSC 315Bioethical Issues in the 21st Century3
MSS 320Communication Technologies: Evolution and Impact3
PL 222Bioethics3
PL 234Philosophies of Health, Healing and Medicine3
PL 238Philosophy of Technology and Social Transformation3
PL 320Thought and Work of Albert Schweitzer (SL:Service Learning)3
PS 309History of Psychology3
PS 310History of Madness3
SO 280Illness and Disability3
SO 360Sociology of Mental Illness3

In consultation with the director of the program, students design a course of study with a coherent focus related to their interests and major field. These courses of study will have a central theme or area of study that falls within the general scope of the program.