Knowing and Believing: Epistemology

Course Code: PHIL 4000

Academic Year: 2021-2022

Not only does the theoretical investigation of knowledge - epistemology - occupy one of the main braches of philosophical study, but as Louis Pojman has ventures, it is also arguably "the central subject in philosophy basic to virtually everything else". Epistemologists have wrestled with such age-old questions as: What is the difference between knowledge and opinion? How do I know the external world? What counts as adequate justification for my beliefs? And what, is anything, can I know for certain? But while the approach to such questions has grown increasingly refined in the Anglo-American world since the early part of the 20th century, challenges from feminist and other post-colonial writers have been gaining momentum in recent times, threatening the "epistemological project" as it has traditionally been conceived. These challengers have insisted on new questions such as: What is the relationship between knowledge and power? What political interests underlie the quest for objectivity? And is the sex of the knower epistemologically significant? These and other such questions will be examined throughout the course, as we navigate a path through the history of epistemology - from a brief survey of its Ancient origins and Early Modern rebirth, to a more sustained investigation of its present-day concerns and outlook for the future. Category and Level: Arts and Humanities, Upper Level Restrictions: None Note: Students benefit from taking a lower level course in the Arts and Humanities category prior to enrolling in this upper level course.