The Hows and whys of philosophy of science teaching: a comparative analysis

Henk W. de Regt*, Edwin Koster

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


What makes teaching philosophy of science to non-philosophy students different from teaching it to philosophy students, and how should lecturers in philosophy adapt to an audience of practitioners of a field of study that they are reflecting on? In this paper we address this question by analyzing the differences between these student groups, and based on this analysis we make suggestions as to how philosophy of science can be taught to non-philosophy students in an effective and attractive way. Starting-point is the observation that not only the background knowledge and interests of these students but also the aims of the respective courses will differ. We present a comparative analysis of the demands and conditions for teaching philosophy of science to the different types of students, focusing on learning objectives and didactic approaches. Next, we apply our analysis to a concrete example, the role of values in science, and discuss how this may be taught to either philosophy students or non-philosophy students. Finally, we discuss an alternative format for teaching philosophy to non-philosophy students.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalEuropean Journal for Philosophy of Science
Issue number4
Early online date5 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank Joeri Witteveen and Sara Green for their work as guest editors of this topical collection, two anonymous reviewers for their comments, and our colleagues at the Institute for Science in Society (Radboud University) and the Department of Philosophy (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam), with whom we had helpful discussions of earlier versions of the paper.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).


  • Dilemma-Oriented Learning Model
  • Philosophy of science in practice
  • Science and values
  • Teaching philosophy of science


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