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PHL3115 - Making Knowledge: Modern Scientific Controversies

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate Faculty of Arts

Leader: Homer Le Grand


Clayton Second semester 2007 (Day)


The analysis of controversies over knowledge claims in science - claims about data, instruments, techniques, theories and world-views - reveals the provisional, revisable and dynamic character of scientific knowledge. This often results in controversies within one or more disciplines, the resolution of which may be the inclusion, removal or modification of what is accepted by the scientific community as valid knowledge. Student will gain a familiarity with several competing interpretations of this process and how these may be applied to a range of past and present controversies drawn primarily from the earth sciences.


Five tutorial exercises (1500 words): 30%
Essay (1500 words): 25%
Essay (2000 words): 45%
Students taking this subject at Level 3 will be expected to produce essays and tutorial exercises which demonstrate considerably wider research, a deeper understanding of the nature of scientific debate, and a higher level of analytical skills than students enrolled in the Level 2 version and to complete two additional exercises (500 words).

Contact hours

2 hour (1 x 2 hour seminar) per week


12 points in Philosophy, History or Social Sciences, or 18 points in Science at any level.