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Sir Isaac Newton
Sir Isaac Newton

Press Release - 03 October 2006

Free lecture to question assumptions about how science works

Local people can question the assumptions of the philosophy of science in a free lecture to be held at the University of Bath on Wednesday 11 October.

Do scientific discoveries explain the world around us or are there limitations to the knowledge that can be achieved through science? The philosophy of science questions the philosophical assumptions, foundations and implications of scientific knowledge.

In ‘How do we know, that we know, what we know?’ Dr Rick Marshall, a former lecturer in physics at the universities of Nottingham and Keele, will summarise some of the main ideas associated with philosophy of science.

“I’ll be picking up on the thinking of some of the key figures in philosophy, from Aristotle to Sir Isaac Newton, right through to this century with Thomas Kuhn and Karl Popper,” said Dr Marshall.

“Philosophy of science questions what people think of as reliable knowledge. For example, how do we know that electrons exist? Do scientists proceed as they do because there are objective reasons for doing so, or do we call the procedures used by scientists reasonable, simply because they use them?”

The idea for the talk originated from an introduction to the International baccalaureate course called The theory of knowledge, presented by Dr Marshall when he was Head of upper school at Oakham School in Rutland.

“With the new school science curriculum based much more around how science works, the lecture provides good background material for teachers,” said Dr Marshall.

Dr Marshall is now involved with the updating of the Advancing physics A level course and also contributes to the Physics enhancement course at Keele University.

Admission for the lecture is free and people can just turn up on the evening. Free parking is available in the West Car Park. The lecture runs from 5.15pm until 6.15pm in the lecture hall 8 West 1.1 on the Claverton campus.

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