Skip to main content

Unit information: Epistemology in 2018/19

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Epistemology
Unit code PHIL20009
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Jason Konek
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Philosophy
Faculty Faculty of Arts


Epistemology, or ‘the theory of knowledge’, is one of the central branches of philosophy, tracing back to ancient Greece. However our approach will be contemporary rather than historical: we will study key epistemological debates in 20th century analytic philosophy. Topics to be covered include the nature of knowledge and justification, scepticism and possible responses to it, internalist versus externalist theories of knowledge and justification, a priori knowledge, perception and perceptual knowledge, inductive reasoning, evidence and probability.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit students will be able to demonstrate:

(1) detailed knowledge of and in-depth understanding of the central debates and positions in epistemology

(2) familiarity with some of the central literature on these debates and positions;

(3) skills in the researching, reading and presentation of complex material, on these debates and positions, as appropriate to Level I.

Teaching details

11 two-hour lectures + 11 one-hour seminars

Assessment Details

Formative: two 2500 word essays designed to test intended learning outcomes (1)-(3).

Summative: one 3-hour unseen exam designed to test intended learning outcomes (1)-(3).

Reading and References

Dancy, Jonathan, Introduction to Contemporary Epistemology. Oxford: Blackwell, 1985.

Gettier, Edmund. “Is Justified True Belief Knowledge?” Analysis, 23, 121–123, 1963.

Steup, Matthias and Sosa, Ernest (eds.),Contemporary Debates in Epistemology, Oxford, Blackwell, 2005.