Get started with custom lists to organize and share courses.

Sign up

Class Central is learner-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Philosophy and the Sciences: Introduction to the Philosophy of Physical Sciences

University of Edinburgh via Coursera

8 Reviews 7805 students interested
  • Provider Coursera
  • Subject Philosophy
  • Cost Free Online Course (Audit)
  • Session Upcoming
  • Language English
  • Certificate Paid Certificate Available
  • Effort 1-3 hours a week
  • Start Date
  • Duration 4 weeks long
  • Learn more about MOOCs

Taken this course? Share your experience with other students. Write review

Overview

Sign up to Coursera courses for free Learn how

What is the origin of our universe? What are dark matter and dark energy?

This is the first part of the course 'Philosophy and the Sciences', dedicated to Philosophy of the Physical Sciences. Scientific research across the physical sciences has raised pressing questions for philosophers. The goal of this course is to introduce you to some of the main areas and topics at the key juncture between philosophy and the physical sciences.
Each week we will introduce you to some of these important questions at the forefront of scientific research.

We will explain the science behind each topic in a simple, non-technical way, while also addressing the philosophical and conceptual questions arising from it. We’ll consider questions about the origin and evolution of our universe, the nature of dark energy and dark matter and the role of anthropic reasoning in the explanation of our universe.

Learning Objectives

Gain a fairly well-rounded view on selected areas and topics at the intersection of philosophy and the sciences

Understand some key questions, and conceptual problems arising in the natural sciences.

Develop critical skills to evaluate and assess these problems.

Suggested Reading

To accompany 'Philosophy and the Sciences', we are pleased to announce a tie-in book from Routledge entitled 'Philosophy and the Sciences for Everyone'. This course companion to the 'Philosophy and the Sciences' course was written by the Edinburgh Philosophy and the Sciences team expressly with the needs of MOOC students in mind. 'Philosophy and the Sciences for Everyone' contains clear and user-friendly chapters, chapter summaries, glossary, study questions, suggestions for further reading and guides to online resources.

Please note, this companion book is optional - all the resources needed to complete the course are available freely and listed on the course site.

Syllabus

What is this thing called science? (Michela Massimi and Duncan Pritchard)
Introduction to philosophy of science: the nature of scientific knowledge, the debates about the scientific method and the problem of underdetermination.

Week 2: The origins of our universe (Michela Massimi and John Peacock)
How did our universe form and evolve? Was there really a Big Bang, and what came before it?

Week 3: Dark Matter and Dark Energy (Michela Massimi and John Peacock)
According to the currently accepted model in cosmology, our universe is made up of 5% of ordinary matter, 25% cold dark matter, and 70% dark energy. But what kind of entities are dark matter and dark energy?

Week 4: The anthropic principle and multiverse cosmology (Alasdair Richmond and John Peacock)
Anthropic reasoning attempts to understand peculiarities of the physical universe via context-sensitive observers in a multiverse of different distinct universes. What are the problems and prospects of this view?

Philosophy and the Sciences Part 2


Taught by

Michela Massimi, Alasdair Richmond, Suilin Lavelle, David Carmel, Mark Sprevak, Duncan Pritchard, Andy Clark, John Peacock, Barbara Webb and Kenny Smith

Help Center

Most commonly asked questions about Coursera Coursera

Reviews for Coursera's Philosophy and the Sciences: Introduction to the Philosophy of Physical Sciences
4.9 Based on 8 reviews

  • 5 stars 88%
  • 4 star 13%
  • 3 star 0%
  • 2 star 0%
  • 1 star 0%

Did you take this course? Share your experience with other students.

Write a review
  • 1
Элла Э
5.0 3 years ago
by Элла completed this course.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Diego R
5.0 4 years ago
by Diego completed this course, spending 3 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.
very important course about epistemology and the relationships between sciences and philosophy because it will allow you to reflect on how we relate to our world, universe and how we try to know things.
5 people found
this review helpful
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Kristina Š
5.0 2 days ago
by Kristina completed this course and found the course difficulty to be easy.
This course consists of two parts - philosophy of cosmology and philosophy of mind. You can take it as one track (either of these) or both (if you aim for distinction). Course includes peer-reviewed essays, and if you have prior background in philosophy, this course will be an easy one, but it gives a nice methodological way of explaining complicated topics in a simple manner. I salute the way the cosmological concepts of dark matter and dark energy were explained easily by a trained physicist, and the way the discussion forums were moderated by competent staff members. I liked the first part of the course better as well, but it's a matter of taste, I guess. All in all, a good course even if you're familiar with these topics, you might enjoy various discussions.

Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Stephane M
4.0 2 years ago
Stephane completed this course.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Tonolmo T
5.0 2 years ago
by Tonolmo completed this course.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Thomas C
5.0 3 years ago
Thomas completed this course.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Sophia S
5.0 2 years ago
by Sophia completed this course.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Anastasia B
5.0 3 years ago
by Anastasia completed this course.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
  • 1

Class Central

Get personalized course recommendations, track subjects and courses with reminders, and more.

Sign up for free

Never stop learning Never Stop Learning!

Get personalized course recommendations, track subjects and courses with reminders, and more.