This seminar is a general course in epistemology, the field of philosophy concerned with questions about knowledge. In this course, you will learn the basic epistemological concepts and will deal with the central debates in the field, e.g., the notion of knowledge, skepticism, structures of justification, the role of perception in the acquisition of knowledge, and testimony.


Course Summary

Externalism holds that our minds are determined by factors external to us, e.g, by our physical and social environments. Externalism is the prevalent position on mind and meaning since the 70s, although there are early anti-internalist arguments already in Wittgenstein's works. This course will cover traditional arguments and respective forms of externalism advanced by Hilary Putnam and Tyler Burge as well as less known positions defended by Donald Davidson and Ludwig Wittgenstein. 

This seminar is an advanced course in philosophy of mind and philosophy of language.

Level of Difficulty

This course requires introduction to philosophy. Basic mastering of arguments (i.e., to know what an argument is and how to evaluate it) is a necessary skill to follow this course. You should also be prepared to write a philosophy essay. Introduction to philosophy of mind or to philosophy of language is not required, but is an advantage. If you come regularly to the class and read the assigned texts prior to the class, you should be able to succeed in the course. All the readings are written by and for professional philosophers. So you should not let everything for the last minute! Do not hesitate to bring your doubts and questions to class and office hours. You are very welcome to do so!

 

Assessment

Your grade (B4 6ECTS and P6v 5ECTS) will be calculated as follows:

1.     Mid-term exam: 40%

2.     Final essay: 40%

3.     Group presentation: 20%

P5*: group presentation

Course description

This seminar is a general course on self-knowledge guided by two questions: how do we know our minds? and, do we actually have self-knowledge? The former question is the traditional query in the field. When examining it, you will learn some different models on the phenomenon. The latter question has more clearly emerged from contemporary work that raises skeptical doubts about self-knowledge. We will finish the course by examining the linkage between self-knowledge and rationality, which stands as a line of response against skepticism.

 

Level of difficulty

This course does not require any previous knowledge. You will read and discuss traditional and contemporary works on self-knowledge. The basic concepts and arguments will be explained in class. The degree of difficulty concerning the assigned readings increases with the development of the course. You should be able to follow the course and the readings if you read and come regularly to class.