Admission to this course is restricted to:
Students enrolled in the BA programme Philosophy: Global and Comparative Perspectives
International pre-master’s students in Philosophy who are in possession of an admission statement, and for whom this course is part of their programme.
Epistemology is the area of philosophy concerned with knowledge. In this course we will investigate a range of philosophical questions regarding the nature and limits of our knowledge. When can we say that we know something? In what way do our perceptual experiences justify our beliefs? What is it for our beliefs to be ‘justified’ in the first place? Do we know anything at all? These are the sorts of difficult but intriguing questions that we will discuss.
We will encounter a range of influential philosophical theses – such as scepticism, foundationalism, reliabilism, and Mooreanism. The focus of our classes will be on the arguments and problems that have motivated philosophers to propose these philosophical views.
This course aims to familiarize students with the central arguments and positions in epistemology, and to accustom students to the vocabulary that contemporary epistemologists use for the precise statements of their views.
Students who successfully complete the course will have a good understanding of:
reasons for and against central views in Western analytic epistemology;
key concepts of epistemology;
influential texts in (the history of) epistemology.
Students who successfully complete the course will be able to:
think critically about the central arguments and problems in contemporary analytic epistemology;
use the technical vocabulary needed for the precise formulation of positions in epistemology;
write a short argumentative essay on the basis of assigned questions.
Mode of instruction
Lectures (2 hours per week)
Tutorials (2 hours per week)
Attendance at both is required.
- two short essays on the basis of a provided essay topics and a paper template.
The final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average of the two subtests:
midterm paper: 50%
final paper: 50%
Satisfactory weekly preparation for the tutorials and satisfactory attendance at both lectures and tutorials are prerequisites for passing the course.
The resit will be one longer paper covering the entirety of the course material. No separate resits will be offered for mid-term papers. The mark for the resit will replace all previously earned marks for subtests.
Satisfactory completion of the required weekly preparation and attendance is a prerequisite for taking the resit.
Inspection and feedback
Essays and feedback will be made available through Turnitin.
Readings will consist of papers and book chapters by leading epistemologists (accessible through the University Library), which must be read carefully before the relevant tutorials. The reading list will be provided in class.
Optional book to buy:
- Williamson, T. (2018). Doing Philosophy: From Common Curiosity to Logical Reasoning. Oxford University Press.
In the final two weeks, we will read six chapters from this book. The chapters are all available through the University Library, but students may want to buy it nevertheless (it’s fairly cheap).
Students are strongly advised to register in uSis through the activity number which can be found in the timetables for courses and exams.
Registration* Studeren à la carte* and Contractonderwijs