Theory and History of Science – Field of study catalogue MU
Theory and History of Science
“Understanding, being persuasive and serving science.”
The purpose is to develop and extend a comprehensive knowledge of science, as the most successful form of knowledge, that is based on the relevant facts and that uses effective methods. The objective is to deepen the systematic understanding of the fundamental questions in the fields of theory of science, methodology of science, philosophy of science, and history of humanities and natural sciences. The study programme focuses on mapping the basic lines of the historical development of science and scientific knowledge, understanding the context, historical shifts, and changes in the scientific paradigms. The study programme leads to understanding the fundamental concepts of science: causality, determinism, evidence, idealization, modelling, observation, and probability. It develops knowledge of the structure of theories, scientific methods, inductivism, limits of falsifications, abilities of prediction and explanation, confirmation, essentialism, and the inference to the best explanation. The curriculum design emphasizes the concept of science as a social institution and the role of ethics and values in science. Specialized lectures on thought experiments, the role and applicability of logic in science and philosophy of science, and the history of special sciences are an integral part of the curriculum.
After successfully completing his/her studies the graduate is able to:
- understand and explain fundamental problems of the theory, history, and philosophy of science
- independently identify and critically analyse key problems of the areas of the theory, methodology, and history of science and present them to national and international professionals and to the public
- carry out critical discussion with pseudo-scientific and para-scientific attitudes
- describe and explain the basic lines of the development of the theory and history of science in the past and in the present
- carry out independent research in the selected study programme
- identify and contextualize the periods in the history of science in which changes of basic paradigms and historical shifts took place, and place given changes in the social and cultural contexts
Graduates are qualified to work in academic positions or as independent researchers at universities and scientific institutions focused on social sciences or humanities. They can find jobs in areas requiring critical, methodological, and systematic thinking and reasoning, in the institutions of science communication, and in the media. Acquired skills and competencies can be used in editorial work in scientific journals, publishing companies, and in teaching in educational institutes.
Instruction is carried out on the basis of individual study plans in the form of methodological preparation, professional instruction, and language education (provided by the Centre for Language Education of Masaryk University), or it is carried out according to the decision of the doctoral committee and supervisor by means of presentations and publications in a foreign language. A major part of the doctoral study consists of the work on the dissertation, which is credited with half of the total number of credits in the programme. The study plan also includes other required courses, such as doctoral seminars, which take place once a month in the autumn and spring terms (the student is required to earn a total of 30 credits for graduate seminars).
Practical training consists of publishing articles and presenting them at conferences. These activities are included in the study plans and are credited.
Selected doctoral students are eligible for an internship at the Institute of Philosophy of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic (based on a collaboration agreement).
The doctoral examination must be taken between the fifth and eighth semester of the study programme, after meeting all the requirements stated in the control template in the information system. The candidate must prepare the following for the examination:
- the exposition and defence of three theses;
- the exposition and defence of parts of the dissertation.
The theses are selected in cooperation with the supervisor. They must be handed in at least one month before the selected term of the examination. They must be handed in in written form to the department secretary. Each thesis must be at least 3-5 pages long including the bibliography. The theses must not overlap thematically with the dissertation. The doctoral committee has the right to dismiss theses of insufficient quality and order their correction. In the course of the examination, the candidate presents and defends at least two of the theses according to the decision of the committee, and responds to follow-up questions.
After the examination the student can proceed to the defence of the dissertation. The successful defence completes the study programme.
Graduates of the doctoral study programme have completed all of the study forms offered by the Department of Philosophy. Further education and professional growth is fully within the graduate’s competence.