Philosophy of Science

Epistemological Foundations for Information Systems Scholars: Positions between Behavioral Science and Design Science


Degree Course PhD
Lecturer Prof. Dr. Armin Heinzl
Contact hours per week 2
Grading Topic presentation and course participation
ECTS n.a.
Language of instruction English
Room L 15, 1-6, 714-715
Time See schedule below
Registration wifo1(at) until Sept 7, 2009
Office hours on appointment
Additional information


This course is designed for Ph.D. students in information systems, business administration and computer science. It provides a basic understanding of philosophy of science and its epistemological foundations. On the one hand, the course will focus on those concepts which derive knowledge from observation and induction. However, since it also takes experiments as well as the new experimentalism into account, it also refers to those disciplines that focus on the evaluation of technological artifacts. Thus, the underlying epistemological foundations are of central interest to all Ph.D. students that study the structure and surrounding behavior of complex technological arrangements. The course will be offered in a seminar style. All Ph.D. students have to offer at least one presentation and a documentation regarding a specific topic. Allocation of topics will be conducted by the lecturer.


No. Date Content Presenter(s)
1 07.09.2009
10:15 h - 11:45 h
  • Introduction
  • Assignments
  • Literature
2 21.09.2009
8:30 h - 10:00 h
  • Science as knowledge derived from the facts of experience
  • Observation as practical intervention
  • Experiments
  • Deriving theories from facts: induction
3 05.10.2009
8:30 h - 11:45 h
  • Introduction to falsificationism
  • Sophisticated falsificationism, novel predictions, and the growth of science
  • The limitations of falsificationism
4 19.10.2009
8:30 h - 11:45 h
  • Kuhn’s paradigms
  • Lakatos’ research programs
  • Feyerabend’s anarchistic theory of science
  • Methodical changes in method
5 02.11.2009
8:30 h - 11:45 h
  • The Bayesian approach
  • The new experimentalism
  • Why should the world obey laws
  • Realism and anti-realism
6 13.11.2009
13:00 h
  • The Design Science paradigm
  • Epistemological foundations of the Design Science paradigm
  • Hybrid approaches: Behaviorally grounded IS designs
7 30.11.2009
8:30 h - 11:45 h
  • Epistemological Foundations of Operations and Logistics Management
  • Visiting talk and paper discussion

Introductory literature

Chalmers, A.F.: What is this thing called science? 3rd edition, Open University Press, Maidenhead 1999

Literature for the Assignments has to be retrieved by participants. Literature for Session 7 will be distributed in October.



60 % Topic presentation, 40 % Course participation