HPS 0633 Science, Philosophy, and Public Policy

In this course we will use the tools of history and philosophy of science to examine the complex and sometime fraught relationship between science and policy in democratic societies. In the first third of the course, we will consider how policy shapes science by discussing the allocation of scientific funding, the distinction between pure and applied science, and the challenges presented by dual-use dilemmas. In the remaining two-thirds of the course, we will focus on how science is brought to bear on policy-making. We will try to answer questions such as: should scientists participate in public policy debates? What does it mean for science to become politicized? Why does public uptake of science sometimes fail? Throughout the course we'll make use of several recent case studies related to climate science, vaccines and public health, and seismology. This course is offered in the fall 2017 term.

  • Zina Ward

Number of Credits



History and Philosophy of Science