It’s getting harder to separate the signal from the noise. Each new YouTube account brings in a new voice clamouring for your intention, convinced in its own absolute correctness. “Believe me,” they say, “for I have The Facts.” What should you believe? For that matter, how do you form beliefs? And when can you say that you know something? Is that different from just being right? With so many voices all saying contradictory things, can we really know anything at all?
In this course, we will consider three foundational topics of epistemology, the branch of philosophy that studies the possibility, sources, and justification of knowledge. First, we will consider whether knowledge has a particular structure that sets it apart from true belief. Second, we will consider whether knowledge has a particular source that sets it apart from true belief. Lastly, we will consider the social dimension of knowledge, and whether being with others affects the possibility and/or extent of knowledge available to us. Recurring themes include epistemic luck, epistemic responsibility, and epistemic injustice.
Required Course Texts
- Pritchard, Duncan. What is this Thing Called Knowledge? 3d. ed. (Routledge, 2013).
- Various articles, as posted.
All information subject to change with notice.
Snows that Piff
|01||TCK: 1-23; Plato, Meno & Theaetetus.||The Standard Analysis|
|02||TCK: 31-4; Sextus Empiricus.||Agrippa’s Trilemma|
|03||TCK: 35; Sosa, “The Raft and the Pyramid.”||Foundationalism|
|04||TCK: 36-7; Sosa, continued.||Coherentism|
|05||Review and Midterm|
Escaping the Vat
|06||TCK: 69-71; Descartes, Meditations.||Academic Skepticism|
|07||TCK: 49-56; Alston, “How to Think About Reliability.”||Reliabilism|
|08||TCK: 57-60; Zagzebski, Virtues of the Mind.||Virtue Epistemology|
|09||TCK: 177-9; Dretske, “The Pragmatic Dimension of Knowledge.”||Contextualism|
The Knowing of Things Together
|10||TCK: 42-9; James, “The Will to Believe.”||Epistemic Rationality|
|11||TCK: 80-6; Goldman, “Experts: Which Ones Do You Trust?”||Expertise|
|12||TCK: 101-17; Goodman, “The New Riddle of Induction”||Scientific Knowledge|
|13||TCK: 183-7; Elgin, “True Enough”; Frankfurt, “On Bullshit.”||Truthiness & Bullshit|
TCK Pritchard, What is this Thing Called Knowledge?