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Introduction to Theory of Knowledge - DOC by moti


									Phil 220: Theory of Knowledge
Section 03 Rutgers University Fall Term 2005 Instructor: Iris Oved Mon, Wed 6:10 – 7:30 Period: 7 SC - 103 Office Hours: Wed 7:30-8:30, SC-103 Thurs 5:00 – 6:00 West End Café (152 Easton Ave) Course Web Page: Course Description This course is an introduction to the issues in the Theory of Knowledge (a.k.a. Epistemology). In this subject we indulge in many mind-bending, thought-twisting, ground-shifting puzzles and reflections. In most fields of study, we set out to gather knowledge about the world; in this course, we take a step back and study knowledge itself. After this course, you will no longer take for granted your methods for coming to have knowledge. You will find yourself questioning your processes of perception and reasoning about the world, discover the limitations of these processes, and thereby come to be a better at gaining knowledge. Like Physics and Biology, the Theory of Knowledge is a subject that has been studied throughout history, and, like Physics and Biology, Epistemology has advanced from the historical thoughts. Rather than reading ancient Physics and Biology textbooks, we read up-to-date thoughts on these subjects. Likewise, in this course, we will read contemporary work (mostly 20 th Century), many of which were written by professors here at Rutgers University. There are two major aims for the course. (1) Intellectual aim: to understand the nature of knowledge as part of the relationship between ourselves and the world. (2) Practical aim: to develop thinking skills and improve your ability to acquire knowledge and make decisions. This is a challenging course (taking this course with the attitude of getting an “easy A” will almost guarantee a struggle). The reading material is advanced, and the expectations are high. If you can meet the challenge, the rewards will be life-changing. Reading Material: (1)A Guide Through the Theory of Knowledge Adam Morton (2)Epistemology: An Anthology Ernest Sosa and Jaegwon Kim (Ed.s) (3)Articles and selections found on the course web page Assignments & Exams Readings and take-home assignments will be given every week. The weekly assignment is to write a one-page essay (12pt font, Times New Roman, double spaced) responding to a question about the material covered that week. With each assignment, there will be an easier “secondary” question. First attempt to answer the primary question, but if you find that you are having difficulty, you may choose to answer the secondary question (with the penalty that the highest letter grade you can earn for the assignment is B). If you would like to increase your chance of a high score on the assignment, you may select to answer both questions, in which case you will receive the highest of the two letter grades. These assignments will prepare you for your exams.

There will be a midterm exam and a final exam, both in the classroom. The majority of the exam questions will come from the “easy” and “difficult” weekly essay questions. The final exam will include questions from topics covered throughout the semester. Grade Breakdown 20% Weekly Essays 40% Midterm Exam 40% Final Exam Topics 1. The questions of the Theory of Knowledge 2. Knowledge as Justified True Belief -Theories of Justification: Foundationalism, Coherentism, Infinitism -Two kinds of foundationalism: Empiricism, Rationalism 3. Skepticism: The problems for Empiricism -Perception -Induction 4. Rationalism and its problems 5. Re-thinking the definition of Knowledge 6. Externalist notion of Justification 7. Epistemology Naturalized (Making Epistemology a Science) -Study of sources of beliefs as a branch of psychology (our heuristics) -Study of Epistemic Norms as a science (our biases) 8. Contextualism 9. Relativism Tentative Schedule (see web page for changes) Phil 220: Theory of Knowledge, Sec 03, Fall 2005 Date Discussion Topic Assignment Due Wed, Sept 7 Overview Mon, Sept 12 Knowledge as JTB Read Ch1 of Morton Wed, Sept 14 Foundationalism, Coherentism, Infinitism Empiricism,Rationalism Read Rosalind Simpson “An Internalist View of the Epistemic Regress Problem” (found on course web page) Read Ch 2 of Morton Read Peter Klein “Human Knowledge and the Infinite Regress of Reasons” (found on course web page) Turn in Assignment 1 Read Barry Stroud “The Problem of the External World” (Ch 1 of Sosa and Kim) Read Peter Unger “An Argument for Skepticism” (Ch 6 of Sosa and Kim) Turn in Assignment 2 Read selection from David Hume “An Inquiry on Human Understanding” (found on course web page) Read sections 1 & 2 of Ch 4 of Morton Turn in Assignment 3

Mon, Sept 19

Wed, Sept 21 Mon, Sept 26 Wed, Sept 28

Skepticism Skepticism Skepticism

Mon, Oct 3


Wed, Oct 5 Mon, Oct 10 Wed, Oct 12 Mon, Oct 17

Rationalism Rationalism Definition of Knowledge Definition of Knowledge

Read Ch 3 of Morton Turn in Assignment 4 Read Edmund Gettier “Is Justified True Belief Knowledge?” (Ch 7 of Sosa and Kim) Read Peter Klein “A Proposed Definition of Propositional Knowledge” (Ch 8 of Sosa and Kim) Turn in Assignment 5

Wed, Oct 19 Mon, Oct 24 Wed, Oct 26 Mon, Oct 31 Wed, Nov 2 Mon, Nov 7 Wed, Nov 9

Review for Midterm MIDTERM EXAM Externalist Justification Externalist Justification Externalist Justification Epistemology Naturalized Epistemology Naturalized

Mon, Nov 14 Wed, Nov 16 Mon, Nov 21 Wed, Nov 23 Mon, Nov 28 Wed, Nov 30 Mon, Dec 5 Wed, Dec 7 Mon, Dec 12

Epistemology Naturalized Epistemology Naturalized Contextualism NO CLASS Contextualism Contextualism Relativism Relativism Review for Final

Read Alvin Goldman “What is Justified Belief?” (Ch 27 of Sosa and Kim) Turn in Assignment 6 Read Alvin Goldman “Epistemic Folkways and Scientific Epistemology” Turn in Assignment 7 Read Nelson Goodman “The New Riddle of Induction” (found on course web page) Read John Pollock “Epistemic Norms” (Ch 18 of Sosa and Kim) Read Heuristics and Biases (found on course web page) Turn in Assignment 8 Read W.V. Quine “Epistemology Naturalized” (Ch 23 of Sosa and Kim) Turn in Assignment 9 Read Keith DeRose “Solving the Skeptical Problem” (Ch 38 of Sosa and Kim) Turn in Assignment 10 Read Stephen Stich “Reflective Equilibrium…” (Ch 43 of Sosa and Kim) Turn in Assignment 11 Turn in Assignment 12

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