Phil 100B – Theory of Knowledge

 

Epistemology is the study of knowledge. Do we know anything? Can we know anything? If not, what is it about knowledge that accounts for the fact that we haven’t attained it or cannot attain it? If we can know things, what conditions need to be met for someone to know something? What, if anything, should I believe? What is rational for me to believe? Are there any general rules or principles I can follow to insure that my beliefs are rational? If there are any general epistemological rules, are any of them (in any sense) absolutely valid? Are there general rules of belief formation and revision that apply to all sorts of inquiry? Or are all good rules applicable in some particular domains but not others? Are there context-independent facts about what we know or should believe, or does every epistemic claim depend in important ways for its meaning or truth on the context in which it is made? Are my judgments about my own sensations and experiences infallible or fallible? What role do observation, experience and introspection of it play in justifying my beliefs about the world? Is all of our knowledge “based on” experience and/or introspection? What about mathematical and logical knowledge? What about our knowledge of epistemic principles and the validity of rules of inference or rational belief revision? What about our knowledge of the meanings of the words we use? What about our knowledge of the norms we assume when criticizing actions as immoral?

Syllabus

Handout 1 F 17

Handout 2 F 17

Paper Assignment # 1 – Due 10/30/17

Handout 3 F 17

Paper Assignment #2 – Due 11/15/17

Handout 4 F 17