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Unit information: Epistemology in 2015/16

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Unit name Epistemology
Unit code PHIL20009
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Karim Thebault
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Philosophy
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

Epistemology, or ‘the theory of knowledge’, is one of the central branches of philosophy, tracing back to ancient Greece. However our approach will be contemporary rather than historical: we will study key epistemological debates in 20th century analytic philosophy. Topics to be covered include the nature of knowledge and justification, scepticism and possible responses to it, internalist versus externalist theories of knowledge and justification, a priori knowledge, perception and perceptual knowledge, inductive reasoning, evidence and probability.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit students will have:

(1) developed a detailed knowledge of and acquired an in-depth understanding of the central debates and positions in epistemology

(2) gained familiarity with some of the central literature on these debates and positions;

(3) developed skills in the researching, reading and presentation of complex material, on these debates and positions, as appropriate to Level-I.

Teaching Information

11 one-hour lectures + 11 one-hour seminars

Assessment Information

Formative: two 2,000-2500 word essays designed to test intended learning outcomes (1)-(3).

Summative: one 3-hour unseen exam designed to test intended learning outcomes (1)-(3).

Reading and References

Dancy, Jonathan, Introduction to Contemporary Epistemology. Oxford: Blackwell, 1985.

Gettier, Edmund. “Is Justified True Belief Knowledge?” Analysis, 23, 121–123, 1963.

Steup, Matthias and Sosa, Ernest (eds.),Contemporary Debates in Epistemology, Oxford, Blackwell, 2005.