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Philosophy of Social Science, 7,5h (Vetenskapsfilosofi för humanister och samhällsvetare)

Stockholm University

HT23 - Språk: Engelska

Course Manager: Torben Spaak
Room: C869
Phone: 08 - 16 45 89

Course Administrator: Susanne Larsson
Room: C784
Phone: 08 - 16 21 68

 Schedule and litterature HT18 (110 Kb) 
 Course Syllabus JU04VHS (in Swedish) (75 Kb) 

The course constitutes a compulsory component of the Faculty of Law’s third cycle programme.


For admission to lectures and examination, the student must be enrolled as a candidate for the degree of doctor of law, doctor of philosophy or doctor of economics.

Learning outcomes

Upon completion of the course, the student should:

  • be able to discuss questions of scientific method and assess the relevance of various scientific theories, methods and concepts to their own scientific undertakings (skills and abilities);
  • understand and be able to apply certain central social science and humanistic theories, methods and concepts (skills and abilities);
  • be able to distinguish between scientific and other methods in order to achieve knowledge (skills and abilities);
  • be able to situate legal science in the family of sciences (knowledge and understanding);
  • have the ability to reflect on questions of ethics and good scientific practice, on the value of scientific and other knowledge and, more generally, to be able to reflect on and discuss the limits of science and the relationship of science to the surrounding community (ability to evaluate and the approach undertaken).

Course Content

The course seeks to introduce various central theories and concepts derived from the philosophy of science, such as knowledge, truth, objectivity, paradigm, hypothesis, evidence, Bayesian probability theory, scientific explanation, scientific laws, deductive and inductive reasoning, positivism, hermeneutics, epistemological relativism and social constructivism. Upon completion of the course, students shall have substantially deepened their understanding of a) scientific activity in general and the relation of the humanities and social sciences to each other and to the natural sciences; and b) the explanations of these differences and the relevance of these differences to the question of which methods the various humanities and social sciences utilise. Students shall also be able to make use of these methodological insights in their own legal science undertakings.


Teaching consists of lectures and seminars. Active participation at 80% of the seminars is compulsory. Active participation means that the doctoral candidates shall have prepared assignments before the seminars and participate in analyses and discussions of the assignments during the seminars. In the event that a doctoral candidate’s attendance is less than 80%, he or she must author a supplemental paper on the subject matter of the seminar(s) in question.

Teaching is conducted in English.

Forms of examination

Examination is conducted through active participation at the compulsory seminars and through authorship of the aforementioned paper.

The course grade (Pass or Fail) will be based on the paper.


For more information please contact:

Course Manager: Torben Spaak
Phone: 08 - 16 45 89
Room: C869



Course dates
28 August 2023 - 31 October 2023
Course organizer
Stockholm University, Faculty of Law

7.5 ECTS