This course will give students an introduction to the main concepts and tools in logic and epistemology essential for critical thinking and for a critical engagement with the world around them.
First, the basic concepts in logic will be introduced and identified, such as, most importantly, the properties of good deductive arguments: validity and soundness. We shall also identify and engage with several logical and argumentative fallacies. The students will then learn a formal language: the language of propositional or sentential logic. Students will learn to formalise natural language sentences and arguments into propositional logic, and they will learn to construct Natural Deduction proofs.
Second, the basic concepts of epistemology, such as belief, truth, justification, perception, and knowledge , will be considered and will receive our philosophical scrutiny. This will allow students to come to a deeper understanding of the kinds, nature, and sources of knowledge. A range of classical and contemporary epistemological problems will be discussed concerning these basic concepts. These problems might include the Gettier Problem (for giving an analysis of knowledge), the Epistemic Regress Problem (for epistemic justification), the Problems of Illusion and Hallucination (for giving account to the nature of perception and for perceptual knowledge), the debate between internalists and externalists, problems with reliabilism, Hume's Problem of Induction, and a powerful Radical Skeptical Argument, the Problem from Ignorance. We shall attempt to present these problems rigorously and clearly. And we shall explore solutions to these and other problems.
By the end of the course, the students will:
have a familiarity with the basic concepts of logic and epistemology which are essential to critical thinking and a critical engagement with the world around them.
They will be able to use propositional logic to formalise their English (natural language) arguments and to construct proofs in this formal language, to prove the validity of their arguments.They will have a familiarity with the basic concepts in epistemology and use them to engage critically with their environment.
Once available, timetables will be published here.
Mode of instruction
In class discussions
Essay and diary writing
18%: final paper (approx. 1000 words)
18%: active class participation
14%: seven, weekly writing assignments and problem sets (2% each writing assignment and/or problem set)
14%: seven, weekly individual reflections in the student's class intellectual diary (2% for each weekly entry for seven weeks )
18%: logic exam (take home)
18%: epistemology exam (take home)
There will be a Blackboard site available for this course. Students will be enrolled at least one week before the start of classes.
Essential Textbooks (available in the bookstores):
LOGIC: Volker Halbach (2010) The Logic Manual (Oxford: OUP)
EPISTEMOLOGY: Duncan Pritchard, (2014) What is this Thing Called Knowledge? (Routledge, 3rd ed.)
Required additional readings include: powerpoints by lecturer, and a selection of primary texts, including:
C. Wright Mills, “On Intellectual Craftsmanship” from The Politics of Truth: Selected Writings of C. Wright Mills, Oxford: OUP, 2008
Plato, extract from de Meno
E. Gettier (1963) ‘Is justified true belief knowledge?’ Analysis, 23, pp.121-123, also in Kim and Sosa (2000), pp. pp. 58-59
Bonjour, (1985/1999) “The Dialectic of Foundationalism and Coherentism”, Greco and Sosa (1999), pp. 117-144.
A. Goldman, (1979) “What is Justified Belief?”, in Kim and Sosa (eds.)(2000), Sosa, E & Kim, J (eds.) (2000) * Epistemology: An Anthology, (Oxford: Blackwell). pp. 340-353
M.G.F. Martin, (1995) “Perception” in Grayling (ed.), pp. 26-43
A. J. Ayer, (1936) Language, Truth, and Logic, Chapter 4
David Hume, Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, Section 4
Descartes, Meditations Concerning First Philosophy, Meditation 1
This course is open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Registration is coordinated by the Curriculum Coordinator. Interested non-LUC students should contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr Arthur Schipper: email@example.com