Aaron J. Powner, M.Ed.
High School Science Teacher

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phi·los·o·phy       /fɪˈlɒsəfi/

etymology - circa 1300, "knowledge, body of knowledge," from Latin philosophia and from Greek philosophia "love of knowledge, pursuit of wisdom; systematic investigation," from philo- "loving" + sophia "knowledge, wisdom." -- Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2012 Douglas Harper

The Big Picture

Science is only one of many ways of knowing, but it is a powerful one that has heavily influenced what it means to be human in today’s world. A favorite metaphor I use in science education is the jig-saw puzzle.  Each scientific concept is like a single piece of the whole puzzle.  Science can produce a big picture view of life, the universe, and everything in it.  Students must put the puzzle pieces (concepts) together to make meaning of it all – to see the big picture.  Humanity still lacks many of the puzzle pieces, but with each new discovery we gain a deeper understanding of nature and life.  Such understanding can equip young people to step into the very big, very real world and cope with its very real demands.  More than this, science education broadens the horizons of one’s mind to allow greater appreciation of the complexities, challenges, and awesome beauty of our existence. See the list of general topics within History & Philosophy of Science.


Online PDF Textbook
Curriculum Map
Crash Course
Template for Lab Reports



Term 1   Nature of Science  
    Lab Safety  

Fundamental Issues

  • Worldviews
  • Truth
  • Empirical Facts and Philosophical/Conceptual Facts
  • Confirming and Disconfirming Evidence and Reasoning
  • The Quine-Duhem Thesis and Implications for Scientistfic Method
  • Philosophical Interlued: Problems and Puzzles of Induction
  • Falsifiability
  • Instrumentalism and Realism
Term 2  

Transition form the Aristotelian Worldview to the Newtonian Worldview

  • Structure of the Univers on the Aristotelian Worldview
  • Preface to Ptolemy's Almagest: The Earth as Spherical, Stationary, and at the Center of the Universe
  • Astronomical Data: The Empirical Facts
  • Astronomical Data: The Philosophical/Conceptual Facts
  • The Ptolemaic System
  • The Copernican System
  • The Tychonic System
  • Kepler's System
  • Galileo and the Evidence from the Telescope
  • Summary of Problems Facing the Astistotelian Worldview
  • Philosophical and Conceptual Connections in the Development of the New Science
  • The Development of the Newtonian Worldview, 1700-1900

Recent Developments in Science and Worldviews

  • The Special Theory of Relativity
  • The General Theory of Relativity
  • Overview of the Empirical Facts, Mathematics, and Interpretations of Quantum Theory
  • Quantum Theory and Locality: EPR, Bell's Theorem, and the Aspect Experiments
  • Overview of the Theory of Evolution
  • Philosophical and Conceptual Implications of Evolution
  • Worldview Concluding Thoughts