David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Teaching Philosophy 27 (2):143-166 (2004)
This paper describes the case-based approach to teaching philosophy of science courses and argues for its merits. The paper first presents a case study that debates whether the “shock features” of the Slate Islands in Lake Superior were formed by meteorite impact or have an endogenous origin, e.g. from explosive volcanic activity. Next, the virtues of the Slate-Island case are considered, e.g. the case is focused insofar as what is at stake is relatively clear and the case illustrates the truisms that creditable scientists disagree and the claims made in natural science are probable rather than indubitable. Finally, the paper argues for the case-based approach to teaching the philosophy of science by responding to two objections: that case studies get in the way of doing philosophy and that students won’t be able to understand scientific literature well enough to reflect upon how it relates to science in general
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