University of Pittsburgh
Undergraduate

Overview

A major in history and philosophy of science is an excellent choice for students who wish to combine coursework in the sciences with work in more humanistically inclined disciplines.

History and philosophy of science is distinctive in integrating these two areas of study, with investigations in each area often closely interwoven. In the history of science, traditional historical methods are used to develop an understanding of how the sciences originated, how they were practiced, how they developed, and how they related to their intellectual and social contexts.

In philosophy of science, the sciences themselves are brought under philosophical scrutiny. We investigate the nature of science in general; what distinguishes scientific activity; how theories explain; how they are confirmed; whether they should be understood literally; and the moral dilemmas raised by the sciences. We also investigate the fundamental content of individual sciences, and how it bears on the perennial philosophical questions: What is the nature of space, time, and matter? What is life? And, what is thought?