Philosophy of Science (long seminar without exam)

We know a lot of things ? or, at least, we think we do. Epistemology is the branch of philosophy that
studies knowledge: its main features, the dynamics of its growth, as well as its claims for truth, validity, and progress. In this course ? which is designed as a series of seminars held by the students, preceded by a few introductory lectures ? we will consider some of the key contributions to the philosophical debate about the growth of scientific knowledge in the twentieth century, from Logical Positivism to Karl Popper, from Thomas Kuhn to Paul Feyerabend. We shall read some of their (as well as others?) works, and critically consider the content and limits of the different methodologies they advanced. Finally, we will reflect on the extent to which such debates affected the methodology of the social sciences, and consider in what ways hard and social sciences differ: as to their inner nature, the context in which they operate, the data they employ and rely upon, and the prescriptive methodology they more or less explicitly adopt.