- This is the course description for 2022-2023, the 2023-2024 version will follow as soon as possible. *
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 branch of philosophy that has knowledge as its subject matter: its nature and scope, its sources and assumptions, and the reliability of knowledge claims. This course discusses the main themes of epistemology from a systematic viewpoint. How should concepts such as “knowledge” and “truth” be understood? Can induction be justified? Does a priori knowledge exist? Is a philosophical theory of knowledge possible at all? Despite the variety of approaches in epistemology, the domain has some famous unsolved problems. Participants in the course are encouraged to think about solutions for these.
The student who has successfully completed the course has knowledge of:
the position of epistemology in relation to other branches of philosophy and empirical sciences;
core concepts in epistemology including “knowledge”, “truth”, “justification”, and “scepticism”;
some modern debates in epistemology concerning these core concepts;
some important positions, movements and persons in the context of these debates, including empiricism, rationalism, coherenceism, naturalism, pragmatism, Edmund L. Gettier and W. V. O. Quine;
some (unsolved) problems in contemporary epistemology including the Gettier problem and problems of scepticism.
The student who has successfully completed the course is able to:
provide and discuss a description of epistemology as a philosophical and academic discipline;
provide an explanation of the above-mentioned core concepts in epistemology and discuss them;
provide a description of the above debates in epistemology;
provide a description and assessment of positions and trends in the context of these debates;
choose and motivate their own position with regard to these debates;
describe the above problems in contemporary epistemology and outline and evaluate suggestions for solving them.
The timetables are available through MyTimetable.
Mode of instruction
Lectures (2 hours per week)
Tutorials (2 hours per week)
Class attendance is required for both lectures and tutorials.
Written midterm exam with open essay questions
Written final exam with open essay questions
Midterm exam: 20% of the final grade
Final exam: 80% of the final grade
Written exam with open essay questions (100% of the final grade).
The mark for the resit will replace all previously earned marks for subtests.
Inspection and feedback
How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.
- Lemos, Noah. 2020. An Introduction to the Theory of Knowledge. 2nd edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9781108724401 (pbk).
Further literature will be made available via Brightspace.
For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the at the right hand side of the page.
For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Huizinga