2017-2018 / PHIL0110-1

Epistemology of Health Sciences


15h Th

Number of credits

 Bachelor in biomedicine2 crédits 
 Master in public health (120 ECTS)2 crédits 
 Master in journalism (120 ECTS)5 crédits 


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 : http://cipl82.philo.ulg.ac.be/horaires

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


Professor V. Despret
Département de Philosophie, office 2/32b
Place du XX Août
Phone: 04/366 55 98
Secretary: 04/366 55 99
Email: v.despret@ulg.ac.be

Items online

Online Notes
Notes are available on eCampus.