Study Programmes 2017-2018
Epistemology of Health Sciences
Duration :
15h Th
Number of credits :
Bachelor in biomedicine2
Master in public health (120 ECTS)2
Master in journalism (120 ECTS)5
Lecturer :
Vinciane Despret
Language(s) of instruction :
French language
Organisation and examination :
Teaching in the second semester
Units courses prerequisite and corequisite :
Prerequisite or corequisite units are presented within each program
Learning unit contents :
a. Introduction: What is epistemology? The place of epistemology in philosophy. The different sciences¿ specific problems: norm and objectivity; the specificity of sciences; the issue of testing.
b. The notion of truth: history of the production of truth (M. Foucault)
c. Science philosophy: theoretical history (Inductivism, Falsificationism, Popper, Kuhn¿s paradigms). New theories: the sociology of science, constructivism.
d. How does science relate to culture?
Practical case: nature sciences: Darwinism and its reception; contemporary ethology and primatology. How does the social, political or ideological context influence the definitions of scientific subjects, examination and interview methods and information collection? (Is science really natural?)
e. Biology as a science of culture
Practical case: the role of metaphors, practices and representations in biology¿s recent history: ova; embryology and genetics; sexual hormones. How have political, social, ideological but also technical contexts influenced the evolution of the subjects of biomedical sciences; how do scientists build reality? Are scientific facts objectively established or collectively created?
Learning outcomes of the learning unit :
Critically considering the epistemological foundations of sciences, esp. those on which biomedical knowledge relies.
Prerequisite knowledge and skills :
Planned learning activities and teaching methods :
Mode of delivery (face-to-face ; distance-learning) :
See :
Recommended or required readings :
Lecture notes will be available in the beginning of the cycle.
Assessment methods and criteria :
Exam: written
Work placement(s) :
Organizational remarks :
Contacts :
Professor V. Despret
Département de Philosophie, office 2/32b
Place du XX Août
Phone: 04/366 55 98
Secretary: 04/366 55 99
Items online :
Online Notes
Notes are available on eCampus.