Introduction to Philosophy of Science

Christopher Smeenk

Introduction to Philosophy of Science

Philosophy department

Christopher Smeenk

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from 13 users


Overall 3.1
Easiness of class 1.3
Workload 1.4
Not Clear
Clarity of professor 3.3
Not Helpful
Helpfulness of professor 3.7


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1 of 1


Quarter Taken: N/A Submitted Jan. 30, 2006 Grade Received: N/A

Smeenk seemed nice enough, but the class was horrifically boring. you really needed to either go to the class or do the reading, because he would just go over the reading and use the same EXACT examples from the reading. This drove me crazy, because if you didn't understand the examples in the reading then the lecture was no help.

We had a guest lecturer one day because Smeenk couldn't be there, and that guy was really interesting and made me realize that it wasn't the subject matter that was boring, it was the way Smeenk presented it. I felt bad for him because it seemed like he was passionate about the subject, but it was like impossible to stay awake in lecture. I ended up rarely going to lecture and got a B+. I was really disappointed though, because I really enjoy philosophy, and that class was terrible.

Quarter Taken: N/A Submitted Feb. 27, 2004 Grade Received: N/A

Professor Smeenk is a pretty nice guy. You can definitely tell that he is concern for the students learning. His tests are straight forward and as long as you know the arguments of each scientist then you should be fine. I never been to OH but people tell me that he is very helpful, during class he also encourages you to go to OH. His lectures are organized but very boring.

Philosophy 8 on the other hand, this class sucks. I think this is the worst class I ever taken in my life. Don\355t let the name fool you \354Philosophy of Science\356, at first I thought it was going to be interesting but this class is hella boring. You have to be very interested in this subject in order to do well. If you don\355t like this stuff or not motivated to learn, you\355re screwed. Damn I hated that class so much. I did work my ass off by doing the readings and trying to go online and find other resources but I just do not get it. At the end, I got a C-, I am really disappointed because I worked VERY hard.

Bottom line: If you\355re a philosophy major, good luck with the class, if you are looking for an easy GE, you better find another class or else you better be prepared for a screwing.

Quarter Taken: N/A Submitted Feb. 6, 2004 Grade Received: N/A

Wow, awesome professor. Lectures were very interesting, as he went over many views and concepts. He's a very organized, enthusiastic, and engaging lecturer. Expect to be assigned lots of reading, even though much of it (especially the course reader and Kuhn's Scientific Revolutions) isn't really necessary to do well on the midterm, paper, and final. The class made me very interested in philosophy. There's a book by JP Moreland called "Christianity and the Nature of Science" which goes over essentially all the concepts and philosophies we went over. It's surprising how closely the book followed the class. I didn't even read any of Kuhn's book, which was summarized in 7-8 pages of Moreland's book. I still learned all the key points and ended up with an A. I highly recommend the class and the supplementary book, which is very useful for homework and the paper.

Quarter Taken: N/A Submitted Jan. 18, 2004 Grade Received: N/A

I took Smeenk for Philosophy of Science and came away very impressed. His lectures were a bit boring in the beginning of the course, but once he stopped using Powerpoint presentations they were great. He presents every topic, both simple and difficult, clearly and completely, and it is always evident that he wants the students to understand the material. The material itself was excellent for the most part, which is good... because there was a lot of it. expect to read 3 standard sized books, as well as another 2 or 3 books worth of material from the course reader. All of the articles and excerps from the course reader were great, and all of the books, except the one by Hempel (which I though was very dry in style) were excellent.
For the exams,he does expect you to know the material well, but he is very fair. He makes sure to not test on any topics that he feels might not have been completely clear to the students (such as some of the details of quantum mechanics), and the exams are designed to see if the students know what is important. He doesn't put obscure, unimportant or trivial questions on the exams. If you have paid attention during lecture and done some of the reading, you should do fine, and if you did all of the reading, you should do very well. Just know the important components of each philosophers arguments, and which philosopher was a proponent of which argument. There was also one medium- sized paper, and to do well on it one just needs to make sure that they make a clear philosophical argument and support. No fluffy language or fuzzy logic. If the paper makes a clear argument and supports it, you'll do fine.
Overall, I loved the course. I enjoyed the material, did the reading, went to lecture and ended up with an A+ without ever having to kill myself with work. Smeenk is a very kind man with a bit of a boyish, country charm (he grew up on a farm), and for his first quarter, he did an outstanding job. He was more organized and a better lecturer than most of the other professors I have had here. Highly reccommended if you're even remotely interested in the subject. Not to mention, that a course in philosophy of science is invaluable, and after taking it, it will penetrate and enhance your understanding of almost every other course you take, especially other science courses. You won't ever think about science in the same way... and that's a good thing.

Quarter Taken: N/A Submitted Jan. 14, 2004 Grade Received: N/A

This class seemed pretty easy in principle, but it turned out to be a little more difficult than I had anticipated. Smeenk is a pretty decent lecturer, I didn't have much of a problem staying awake and listening. The midterm was decent, although I got a bit confused. Know each philosopher's views EXACTLY. The final was a lot easier than the midterm...the paper topics were only problem with this class was that I had a pretty bad T.A. whom didn't do much other than try to make us figure it all out ourselves. Oh yea, there is a ton of reading for this class, so be prepared to be doing it all in order to get an A. Get Thi as a T.A. if he is doing it, in his review session he was funny and 10x more clear than my T.A. All in all, challenging philosophy class that CAN be done if you keep up with the material.

Quarter Taken: N/A Submitted Dec. 28, 2003 Grade Received: N/A

I started this class as a pre-req for my major, with no interest in philosophy, and now it is going to be my major. Professor Smeenk is a great professor. The lectures are fairly well organised (they dropped off a bit at the end of the year), the tests are a bit difficult but fair, and the reading is for the most part optional. End grades in the class are very fair, reflecting the amount of work that you put into the class. Take this class if you think you might be interested in philosophy.

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