Course: Philosophy 2210 – Epistemology
Semester: Fall 2015
Instructor: Colin P. Ruloff Ph.D.
Office Hours: Thursdays, 2:45-3:45, Room TBD
Class Meets: Thursdays, 4-6:50pm, Room 1340, Richmond Main.
Course Description: Epistemology is the philosophical study of the nature of knowledge and our ways of acquiring it. This course offers an introductory treatment of contemporary epistemology. We will examine: the analysis of propositional knowledge, theories of epistemic justification, foundationalist theories of knowledge, coherentist theories of knowledge, the internalism/externalism debate, radical skepticism, and the problem of induction.
Text: There is no text required for this course.
Test #1: 20%
Test #2: 20%
Test #3: 25%
This is not an easy grade course. In order to do well, you’ll need to read the text, work through the material, attend lecture, take good notes, and so on.
My default procedure is not to take attendance. But your failure to attend class will significantly reduce your chances of doing well in the course.
You will receive in-class notices, reminders, and so on. It is your responsibility to be informed of these forms of communication throughout the semester.
If you miss a lecture, do obtain the relevant notes and any in-class instructions from a colleague. Exchange your email address with somebody in class so that you can get the relevant notes in the event of a missed class.
Email and attending office hours are the preferred methods of communication. Don’t leave me a voicemail.
Email is not like texting; so don’t expect me to answer your emails immediately. If you send me an email, I’ll get back to you within 24 hours.
Do visit me during office hours if you are struggling with the course material.
If you don’t do well on the first exam/mid-term, see me right away; don’t wait. I’ll do my best to help you get back on track.
Please refrain from texting, browsing the internet, facebooking, etc., during lecture. It’s distracting, rude, and disrespectful. I ask this as a professional courtesy.
Please don’t take pictures of my overhead notes. They are private intellectual property.
No “vaping”, please.
Don’t take photos of me.
There will be no extra credit assignments, so make your regular work count.
I don’t re-schedule missed quizzes/exams/mid-terms Given that I teach 150+ students per semester at multiple campuses around the lower mainland, I cannot make special arrangements for students that have missed them.
The exams will consist of short answer questions, fill in the blank questions, true or false questions, and multiple choice questions. The exams will be challenging but fair.
Review your notes – often.
Your questions and observations are welcome during lecture. Please feel free to ask for clarification if I am not making sense to you. If I determine you need more individual attention, I may ask that you see me after class or in office hours in order to meet your needs more appropriately.
In an effort to create a classroom environment conducive to learning, please turn off all cell phones and pagers. Please do not take any calls during lecture. Please avoid side conversations during lecture, discussion, and class activities as this is irritating to both me and your colleagues. Also, please do not text, browse the internet, use facebook, myspace, and so on, during the lecture. Also, please don’t take pictures of my overhead notes or of me.
Review your notes – often.
*Note* This is a tentative schedule of readings, assignments and exams. Any changes to this schedule will be announced in class. Please keep informed of any relevant changes during the semester.
PART 1: DEFINING KNOWLEDGE.
Sept 10 The Traditional analysis of Knowledge.
Sept 17 Gettier Problems and Traditional Analysis of Knowledge.
Sept 24 Gettier Problems, continued.
Oct 01 Test #1.
PART 2: THE STRUCTURE OF KNOWLEDGE.
Oct 08. Cartesian Foundationalism.
Oct 15 Modest Foundationalism.
Oct 22 Coherentism.
Oct 29 Test #2.
PART 3: EPISTEMIC JUSTIFICATION.
Nov 05 Evidentialist/Internalist Theories of Knowledge and Justification.
Nov 12 Non-Evidentialist/Externalist Theories of Knowledge and Justification.
PART 4: RADICAL SKEPTICISM and THE PROBLEM OF INDUCTION.
Nov 19 The Problem of Induction.
Nov 26 Radical Skepticism.
Dec 03 Wrap-up.Papers Due.
Note: Test #3 will be held on, Monday December 10, 3-6pm. Room TBD.