William J. Talbott
Nature, definition, and possibility of knowledge.
What is the difference between knowledge and merely justified belief, or between justified and unjustified belief, or between rational and irrational belief? Epistemology is the branch of philosophy that deals with these questions. In this course, we will consider some of the most influential historical and contemporary answers to these questions. Among the topics to be discussed are: the traditional analysis of knowledge and Gettier problems; the nature of a priori justification; various forms of skepticism; whether we can have knowledge of the external world, of other minds, of the past, and of the future; the nature of empirical justification, with attention to foundationalism and coherentism; naturalized epistemology; virtue epistemology; and the internalist-externalist debate in epistemology. The course requirements include serving as a class discussion leader, one short paper (5 pages), a midterm exam, and a final exam (one-half in class, one-half take home). No prerequisites, though at least one other course in philosophy is recommended. Meets I&S requirement. TEXTS: "Epistemology: Classic Problems and Contemporary Responses", Laurence BonJour; "What Can We Know?", Louis P. Pojman.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Class assignments and grading
The course requirements include answering in-class questions, four homework assignments, one 5-7 page paper, a midterm exam, and a final exam.