PHIL 331 Fall 2012 Contemporary Epistemology (W)

Epistemology is one of the core areas of philosophical reflection. In this course, we will study the literature in contemporary philosophy on the nature of knowledge and rational belief. Epistemologists seek answers to the following kinds of questions: When is it rational to have a particular belief? What is knowledge (as opposed to mere opinion)? In order to be justified in holding a belief, must someone know (or believe) that she is justified in holding that belief? What, if anything, justifies our scientific knowledge? These questions are typically asked within a framework where the overarching goal is attaining truth and avoiding falsity. Beyond this common ground, however, epistemologists are much divided. Some maintain that these issues are solely the provinces of philosophy, using traditional a priori methods. Others maintain that these questions will only yield to methods that incorporate our broader insight into the nature of the world including, perhaps, feminist thought or science. Both stances face severe difficulties. Further, even where there is agreement as to the proper way of answering epistemological questions, there is a stunning variety of possible answers to each question.
Class Format: tutorial
Requirements/Evaluation: each student will write a 5- to 6-page paper every other week (6 in all) and comment on his or her tutorial partner's paper in alternate weeks
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Prerequisites: at least one upper-level philosophy course or permission of the instructor
Enrollment Preference: current and prospective Philosophy majors
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Divisional Attributes: Division II,Writing Intensive
Other Attributes: COGS Interdepartmental Electives, PHIL Contemp Metaphysics & Epistemology Courses,TEAC Related Courses
Enrollment Limit: 10
Expected Enrollment: 6
Class Number: 1492
PHIL331-T1(F) TUT Contemporary Epistemology (W) Division 2: Social StudiesWriting Intensive Joseph L. Cruz
TBA 1492
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