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This course is an introduction to epistemology, the branch of philosophy that studies the possibility, sources, and justification of knowledge. Epistemology is central to public discourse, and familiarizing yourself with its concepts will enable you to navigate public discourse more effectively. The need for such familiarity has never been more pressing: on one hand, there is more information available to more people; on the other, most people do not take the time to consider how such information translates into beliefs, actions, and knowledge. In this course, we will consider three central epistemological problems: the problem of epistemic causation; the problem of justification; and, the problems posed by collective epistemology. Figures include Plato, Descartes, James, Elgin, and more.
- Pritchard, Duncan. What is this Thing Called Knowledge? 3d. ed. (Routledge, 2013).
- Various articles posted to Ares.
||One midterm test on the material covered from weeks one to five (inclusive).
||One essay on the material from units two or three.
||Assessed on the quality and quantity of participation.
||One sit-down cumulative examination.
Snows that Piff
||TCK: 1-7; 10-15.
||TCK: 20-3; E1; E2.
||The Standard Analysis
||TCK: 35; E4.
||TCK: 36-7; E4.
Escaping the Vat
||TCK: 169-72; E5.
||TCK: 69-71; E5.
||TCK: 55-6; E6.
||TCK: 57-60; E7.
||TCK: 177-9; E8.
The Knowing of Things Together
||TCK: 42-9; E9.
||TCK: 80-6; E10.
||TCK: 101-7, 115-7; E11.
||Science & Induction
||TCK: 183-7; E12; E13.
||What is this Thing Called Knowledge?
||Zagzebski, L. Virtues of the Mind.
||Dretske, F. “The Pragmatic Dimension…”
||James, W. “The Will to Believe”
||Goldman, A. “Experts: Which Ones…?”
||Sosa, Ernst. “The Raft and the Pyramid”
||Goodman, N. “The New Riddle…”
||Descartes, R. Meditations
||Elgin, C. “True Enough”
||Alston, W. “How to think…”
||Frankfurt, H. “On Bullshit”