Concentration in History and Philosophy of Science
This concentration is offered jointly by the Departments of History and Philosophy. It is administered by an interdepartmental committee whose members are Paolo Mancosu, Department of Philosophy, Cathryn Carson, Department of History, and Massimo Mazzotti, Department of History.
The concentration provides the specialist training required for undertaking research in the history of science or in the philosophy of science. At the same time, it complements this training with first-hand knowledge of the methods and concerns of the other discipline.
Students apply for admission to one of the participating departments in accordance with their qualifications and interests. These may include a double major or an exposure to science in previous studies. Students in the concentration are treated fully as graduate students in either the Department of History or the Department of Philosophy and will be fully qualified to work and teach either in history or in philosophy.
Students participating in the concentration as graduates in either department are encouraged from the beginning to take advantage of courses, seminars and other opportunities provided by the other department. Both groups of students will meet each other regularly in seminars and in reading groups, and are expected to attend the two departments' respective history and philosophy of science colloquia sponsored by the Office for the History of Science and Technology and in the Working Group in the History and Philosophy of Logic, Mathematics and Science.
Those entering the concentration as Philosophy students will take the broad range of philosophy courses and seminars and the qualifying exam standardly required for the PhD in Philosophy. This standard set of requirements is, however, modified in the following ways for students in the HPS concentration.
- At least two courses or seminars, to be approved by the concentration committee, will be, respectively, in philosophy of science, and in philosophy of science or logic or philosophy of mathematics.
- At least one course or seminar, to be approved by the concentration committee, will be in history of science or in a science.
- By the end of their third year, and before advancing to candidacy, students in the concentration will take an additional course or seminar, to be approved by the concentration committee, which must be in history of science.
- Students in the concentration should aim to take the Ph.D. qualifying examination by the end of the fifth semester, and they must pass it by the end of the sixth semester.
- Two of the three fields for the qualifying examination will concern topics in the philosophy of science. One of these may be broadly construed to include relevant topics from other fields or areas of philosophy, to be approved by the concentration committee.
- The topic of a candidate's doctoral dissertation is to be approved by the concentration committee.
To enter the concentration as a graduate student in Philosophy, prospective graduates should apply to the Ph.D. program in Philosophy and mention their interest in the HPS concentration as part of their statement of purpose. For information on entering the concentration as a graduate student in History, please see the Department of History's website.