Williamson’s Knowledge and Its Limits and Current Topics in Epistemology
PHIL 700b, EPISTEMOLOGY. Keith DeRose. Spring 2001
M 3:30-5:20*, 305 Connecticut Hall
*note time change: some sources, including this web page, had listed the time as being 1:30-3:30
A study of some prominent issues in current epistemology. Topics may include skepticism,
internalist vs. externalist accounts of knowledge and of justification, the structure of knowledge and
justification (foundationalism vs. coherentism), contextualism in epistemology, and the “relevant
alternatives” account of knowledge.
Due date for all written work: Fri., April 20 –> extended to Tues., April 24.
The 700-level designation means this is a seminar for graduate students. We will read and discuss several chapters of Timothy Williamson’s new book, Knowledge and its Limits, assuming it is available soon enough for our use. Otherwise, Iwill not be assigning any specific readings. Rather, students will be expected to find their own topics in current epistemology, make bibliographies for and brief descriptions of about 4 sufficiently distinct topics, and then write a seminar paper on one of those topics. In seminar meetings, then, in addition to discussing parts of Williamson’s book, we will spend our time discussing students’ progress on researching the topics they have chosen. Class size permitting, there may be assigned student presentations. The goal of the seminar, in addition to familiarizing students with some current topics in epistemology, will be to develop research skills.
Books: In addition to Williamson’s book, the 1999 Philosophical Perspectives will be a required textbook for this course. This is book of essays, all in epistemology, and will serve as something of a starting point in finding topics. A suggested, and most likely helpful, but not required, book will be Sosa and Kim’s (ed.) collection Epistemology: An Anthology. For students who have interest in the topic of skepticism, Skepticism: A Contemporary Reader, edited by the instructor, along with Fritz Warfield, is recommended. For those really interested in current treatments of skepticism, Philosophical Issues, Vol. 10 (2000) is completely on the topic of skepticism, and may be of some help.
Book Haven (290 York Street) will be ordering about 9 of each of the required books (Williamson & Philosophical Perspectives), but for those who want to get a jump on the reading, who want to also obtain some of the optional books I’ve mentioned, or who just want to get the books now for whatever reason, here are some links:
Link to Bob Adams’s paper, “Presumption and the Necessary Existence of God”
Link to Ingenta. (Lackey’s “Testimonial Knowledge and Transmission” is in issue 197 of the 1999 PQ, and Insole’s “Seeing off the Local Threat to Irreducible Knowledge by Testimony” is in Issue #198 (2000) of PQ.)
Link to Burge’s “Content Preservation”.
To see a list of recent (1995-) publications in epistemology, check out The Epistemology Page.