The argumentation in Science

Course Objectives

  • Identify and distinguish the different currents of analysis in philosophy of science;
  • Use the relevant literature in the specific fields of the topics;
  • Write papers with original contributions, with solid arguments, and supported by reference sources on the issues.


The interest in science argumentation arises in the context of the rhetoric of science as analytical perspective, a perspective that appears in the seventies and eighties is consolidated in the framework of social and cultural studies of science. The mosaic of positions that can be included under the same label is broad, from different backgrounds and with different purposes. In our case we adopt this perspective as a complementary perspective, of inclusive significance, considering that the philosophy of science can not be reduced to an epistemology or a methodology if it is to reflect on science in all its complexity. In this perspective, in turn, it should not be limited to the analysis of the purely logical aspects of scientific knowledge, claiming the need to recognize the inescapable dialectic and rhetoric dimensions of the science. The study of scientific argumentation has always favored the logic aspects of it. What is it, however, is also serving his dialectical and rhetorical aspects, understanding that that is “scientific” does not exempt the study of science also consider these aspects.

Basic and complementary bibliography

Bauer, H.H. (1992) Scientific Literacy and the Myth of the Scientific Method. Urbana. University of Illinois Press.
Brown, T. L. (2003) Making Truth. Metaphor in Science. Urbana. University of Illinois Press.
Chandler, J. Davison, A.I., y Harootunian, H. (eds.) (1994) Questions of Evidence. Proof, Practice, and the Persuasion across the Disciplines. Chicago. University of Chicago Press.
Dear, P. (ed.) (1991) The Literary Structure of Scientific Argument. Historical Studies. Philadelphia. University of Pennsylvania Press.
Díez, J. A. y Moulines, C. U. (1997) Fundamentos de Filosofía de la Ciencia. Barcelona. Ariel.
Echeverría, J.(2002) Ciencia y valores. Barcelona. Destino.
Fuller, S. (1993) Philosophy, Rhetoric, and the End of Knowledge: the Coming of Science and Technology Studies. Madison. University of Wisconsin Press.
Gregory, B. (1988) Inventing Reality. Physics as Language. N. York. J. Wiley and sons, Inc.
Gross, A. (1990) The Rhetoric of Science. Cambridge, Mass. Harvard University Press. Holton, (2000) Ciencia y anticiencia. Madrid. Nivola.
Koertge, N. (ed.)(1998) A House Built on Sand. Exposing Postmodernist Myths about Science. New York, Oxford, Oxford University Press.
Latour, B., y Woolgar, S. (1979) La vida en el laboratorio. La construcción de los hechos científicos. Madrid. Alianza. 1995.
Lenoir, T. (ed.) Inscribing Science. Scientific Texts and the Materiality of communication. Standford, California. Standford University Press. 
Locke, D. (1992) Science as Writing. New Haven. Yale University Press. La ciencia como escritura. Madrid. Cátedra. 1997.
Longino, H. (1990) Science as Social Knowledge. Values and Objectivity in Scientific Inquiry. Princeton. Princeton University Press.
Longino, H. (2002) The Fate of Knowledge. Princeton. Princeton University Press.
Machamer, P., Pera, M. Y Baltas, A. (eds.) (2000) Scientific Controversies. Philosophical and Historical Perspectives. Oxford. Oxford University Press.
Nash, C. (ed.) (1990) Narrative in Culture. The Uses of Storytelling in the Sciences, Philosophy, and Literature. London. Routledge.
Nelkin, D. (1987) La ciencia en el escaparate. Madrid. Fundesco. 1990.
Pera, M. (1994) The Discourses of Science. Chicago. The University of Chicago Press.
Pera, M. y Shea, W. (eds.) (1991) Persuading Science. The Art of Scientific Rhetoric. Canton. Science History Publications. 


Basic skills

BS6. To have a strong knowledge base that allows them to innovate in the development and/or implementation of ideas, especially for research purposes.  

BS7. The ability to apply the knowledge they have acquired and their ability to solve problems in new or little known areas within wider (or multidisciplinary) contexts related to their field of study.

BS8. The ability to integrate knowledge and deal with the complexities of forming opinions based on incomplete or limited information, including reflections on social responsibilities and ethics. 

BS9. The ability to clearly and unambiguously communicate conclusions and the knowledge and reasons behind them to specialized and non-specialized audiences.

BS10. Learning skills to carry out further studies and research in a self-directed and autonomous way.

General skills

GS1. Students should be able to produce readable, detailed and technically correct documents and research work that meets the current international standards for the disciplines.

Specific skills

SS1. The ability to identify traditional and current knowledge specific to the field of logic and philosophy of science, as well as the different trends of thought and tradition involved.

SS2. Mastery of the analytical tools provided by philosophy to facilitate the clear identification of the semantic, logical, epistemological, ontological, axiological and ethical factors that are present in science and technology.          

SS3. The ability to assess disputes, considering and overviewing alternatives to decide upon the better justified and reasoned parts.   

SS4. To be able to identify arguments as they appear in texts, dialogues and discussions, assessing their accuracy, acceptability and persuasiveness.

Teaching Methodology

The course has an eclectic methodological position adaptable to the needs of students. For this exhibition it will combine strategies of content by the teacher with strategies of inquiry and participation by students. These strategies include performing critical reading guides of required readings, text comments, and a final paper.

Assessment System

  • Attendance and participation in lectures and tutorial sessions: 20%
  • Coursework monitoring: 40%
  • Final paper: 40%

Study time and individual work

  • Total hours: 125 hours
  • Total on-site lessons: 10 hours
  • Total on-site theoretical lessons: 10 hours
  • Total hours individual work: 115 hours hours
  • Tutorials: 10 hours
  • Tasks to be done along the semester: 73 hours
  • Final exam or final essay supervised by the teacher: 32 hours

Recommendations for the study of the subject

There are no requirements to take the subject, but a basic understanding of the philosophy of science is recommended.

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