JH3 Epistemology

This course introduces students to a number of major themes and debates in epistemology. In particular, we will focus on the nature of knowledge (Part 1), issues pertaining to epistemic justification (Part 2), epistemic values, goals and norms (Part 3), social epistemology (Part 4) and scepticism (Part 5). In Part 1 we will examine the nature of knowledge, including traditional justified true belief account of knowledge, the ‘Gettier problem’ that is widely thought to refute it, and look at some of the revised theories of knowledge that were proposed in its wake. Part 2 is about epistemic justification and, more specifically, focuses on the divides between (i) internalists and externalists and (ii) evidentialists and reliabilists, as well as the structure of justification. In Part 3, we will take a closer look at the value problem in epistemology, i.e the question whether it is better to know than to have a mere true belief, as well as normative issues, including questions concerning the goal of inquiry and the norm of assertion. Part 4 focuses on epistemological issues arising from our relation to other agents, including testimonial knowledge and peer disagreement. Finally, Part 5 focuses on the problem of scepticism and some recent solutions to it.

Course lecturer: Dr Christoph Kelp
Semester: 1
Lecture hour & venue: See Honours timetable

Recommended reading: 

The following is a good introduction to many of the topics we will cover:
[P] Pritchard, D. 2014. What is This Thing Called Knowledge? 3rd Edition. London: Routledge.

This book is available online at:

Many of the readings for this course are collected in the following volume:
[BP] Bernecker, S. and Pritchard, D. (eds.) 2014. The Routledge Companion to Epistemology. London: Routledge.

This book is on short-term loan in the library.

Here is another useful volume (featuring many classical papers in epistemology):
[SK] Sosa, E., Kim, J., Fantl, J. and McGrath, M. (eds) 2008. Epistemology: An Anthology. 2nd Edition. Oxford: Blackwell.

We’ll also be using a good deal of the following electronic resources for our readings:
[SEP] The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy at https://plato.stanford.edu/
[IEP] The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy at http://www.iep.utm.edu/ 
[PC] Philosophy Compass at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/(ISSN)1747-9991