APS 327 History and Philosophy of Science

Level 3
Semester 1A
Credits 10
Pre/Co Requisites -
Recommended Requisites -
Teaching Staff Professor Tim Birkhead
Co-ordinator Professor Tim Birkhead


This course will:
• Describe what science is and how it works, using biology as the main theme. The course will start by considering three major areas of biology: reproduction, evolution and sexual selection and examine how each of these disciplines developed. Using these examples as a foundation the different ways science is conducted will be described.
• Provide insights into the links between historical and contemporary science and the way science is conducted.
• Develop skills in the evaluation of information and the nature of science.
• Develop skills in written and oral presentation.


The course comprises lectures on the history of biological thought covering: (i) Reproduction, (ii) Evolution, and (iii) Sexual Selection. There will be a one-day conference at which students present prepared papers. Other topics discussed will include: (i) ethics in science, (ii) sexism in science, (iii) philosophy in science and (iv) the popularisation of science and communicating science to the public.

Delivery Method: 9 lectures and an all-day conference (on 24th November 2015) at which students present prepared papers.

Student contact hours: 17

Assessment method: Presentation and Examination

Assessment Weighting: 50% Presentation, 50% Examination

TurnItIn Submission: NONE

Feedback: Students can receive feedback on performance in examinations by arranging a meeting with their personal tutor at the start of the following Semester.

For more information on APS327, please go to MOLE

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