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Admission requirements

Admission to this course is restricted to first-year students enrolled in the BA programme Philosophy: Global and Comparative Perspectives.


Epistemology is the area of philosophy concerned with knowledge. In this course we will investigate a a range of philosophical questions regarding the nature and limits of our knowledge.

When can we say that we know something? Why is it good to know things? 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 be discussing.

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 theses.

Course objectives

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 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 Western epistemology;

  • use the technical vocabulary needed for the precise expression of positions in epistemology;

  • write a short argumentative essay on the basis of assigned questions.


See: BA Philosophy: Global and Comparative Perspectives

  • Philosophy: Global and Comparative Perspectives - BA1

Mode of instruction

  • Lectures (2 hrs per week)

  • Tutorials (2 hrs per week)

Class attendance is required for both lectures and tutorials.

Course Load

Total course load 5 EC x 28 hours = 140 hours

  • Attending lectures or seminars: 14 x 2 hours per week = 28 hours

  • Attending tutorials: 14 x 2 hours per week = 28 hours

  • Preparation lectures and/or seminars: 14 x 4 = 56 hours

  • Preparation of midterm evaluation and short essay: 28 hours

Assessment method


  • short weekly written assignments, adequate attendance and participation;

  • two short essays on the basis of a provided essay assignment


The final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average of the two subtests.

  • weekly written assignments, adequate attendance and participation

  • midterm short essay: 40%;

  • final short essay: 60%.

Satisfactory completion of the weekly assignments is a prerequisite for evaluation of the short essays.


he resit will be one take home exam consisting of several essay questions, covering the entirety of the course material. No separate resits will be offered for mid-term tests. The mark for the resit will replace all previously earned marks for subtests.

Satisfactory completion of the weekly assignments is a prerequisite for taking the resit.

Exam review

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.


Blackboard will be used for:

  • Announcements

  • Submission of weekly assignments and short papers

  • Readings

Reading list

Essential Testbook

  • Pritchard, Duncan (2013, third edition) What is this Thing Called Knowledge? Oxford: Routledge.

  • Supplementary readings will be distributed through Blackboard (these will include both historical and more recent texts).


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available on the website

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

Not applicable.


Dr. M.A. Lipman. Contact details to be announced on the Institute's website