Spring 2019 - PSYC 402 D100

Advanced Topics in History and Theoretical Psychology (4)

Introduction to the Philosophy of Psychological

Class Number: 4111

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo 2:30 PM – 5:20 PM
    RCB 6152, Burnaby

  • Prerequisites:

    PSYC 201, 210, 308 (or 207), 60 units, and a CGPA of 3.0. Other prerequisites vary by topic offering.



Course can be repeated for credit. Students may not take this course for further credit if similar topics are covered. See Psychology department website for course description.


Psyc 402/705

This course consists in an introduction to a fairly broad cross-section of issues pertaining to the philosophy of psychological science. It is portioned into three major sections: The first encompasses in a general introduction to the philosophy of science, and will include an introduction to some basic philosophy of science concepts, as well as to the various approaches to and perspectives on such issues as scientific explanation, inference, and theory-building. The second section will include a description of key historical movements in the philosophy of science and the debates that have arisen over how scientific inquiry should proceed. The third section of the course will consider issues specific to the philosophy of psychological and other related sciences, including topics such as the history of measurement and inference as they pertain to psychological phenomena, construct validation as a dominant approach to theory-building, and alternative accounts of explanation for the discipline of psychology as a whole.


To gain a basic understanding of general philosophy of science concepts and to be able to identify the underlying philosophical foundations of the various theoretical approaches which have dominated in psychological science from its inception through current dominant perspectives.


  • Readings Journal: 10%
  • Major Paper Outline: 10%
  • First Draft: 20%
  • Final Draft: 30%
  • Presentation: 20%
  • Participation: 10%



Godfrey-Smith, Peter. (2003). An introduction to the Philosophy of Science: Theory and Reality. University of Chicago Press.

Selected articles, assigned weekly.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html