Debates in contemporary theoretical philosophy (5cr)
- From 01/02 to 05/02: 10 -13. From 08/02 to 10/02: 10-13. Only on 11 February 10-13 and 15-18
- Room 409 (01/02-05/02), Seminari de Lògica (08/02-10/02), Seminari de Filosofia (11/02),Facultat de Filosofia, UB
The course will consist of a one-week intensive introduction to the topics of the course, given by Sven Rosenkranz (1-5 February, 2016), followed by a one-week intensive course given by Prof. Duncan Pritchard (syllabus below) from the University of Edinburgh (8-12 February, 2016). "(The academic calendar was unexpectedly changed after creation of the syllabus for this course, listing 12 February as a local holiday. For this reason, there will be a double session on 11 February.)". The aim of Duncan Pritchard’s course is to cover some of the main currents in contemporary epistemology. The five topics to be covered are:
Prof. Duncan Pritchard's program:
Issues in Contemporary Epistemology
The aim of this course is to cover some of the main currents in contemporary epistemology, viewed from the perspective of a particular theoretical standpoint. The topics to be covered include:
The nature of knowledge.
The nature of understanding.
The main readings for the course will be drawn from the following texts (.pdfs of these texts will be supplied):
Pritchard, Duncan, The Nature and Value of Knowledge: Three Investigations, (with A. Haddock & A. Millar), (Oxford University Press, 2010).
Pritchard, Duncan, Epistemic Angst: Radical Skepticism and the Groundlessness of Our Believing, (Princeton University Press, 2015).
Pritchard, Duncan, Epistemology, (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016).
Topic 1: Anti-Luck Epistemology
We begin with the project of offering an analysis of knowledge. Our focus in this section will be on the kind of modal conditions on knowledge that have been proposed, such as safety and sensitivity. In particular, we will look at their motivation and how best to understand them. We will also be considering an approach to the theory of knowledge known as anti-luck epistemology, and how this connects with these modal conditions on knowledge.
Pritchard, Duncan, Epistemology, (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016), chs.1&2.
Pritchard, Duncan, ‘Anti-Luck Epistemology and the Gettier Problem’, Philosophical Studies 172 (2015), 93-111.
Topic 2: Virtue Epistemology
In this section we will be looking at virtue-theoretic accounts of knowledge, and some of the difficulties that they face. In the process we will consider the nature of cognitive achievements, and the relationship between cognitive achievements and knowledge. A particular way of thinking about the nature of knowledge—known as anti-luck virtue epistemology—will be explored, as will the related phenomena of epistemic dependence.
Pritchard, Duncan, Epistemology, (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016), chs.3&4.
Kallestrup, Jesper & Pritchard, Duncan, ‘Virtue Epistemology and Epistemic Twin Earth’, European Journal of Philosophy 22 (2014), 335-57.
Topic 3: Knowledge, Understanding, and Epistemic Value
We will be looking at a set of interrelated issues with regard to the nature of epistemic value, including the so-called swamping problem. We will be particularly interested in the question of whether knowledge has a special kind of value, and in the related issue of how knowledge, understanding, and cognitive achievement are all connected to one another.
Pritchard, Duncan, The Nature and Value of Knowledge: Three Investigations,(with A. Haddock & A. Millar), (Oxford University Press, 2010), chs. 1-4.
Pritchard, Duncan, ‘Epistemic Axiology’, Epistemic Reasons, Epistemic Norms, and Epistemic Goals, (eds.) M. Grajner & P. Schmechtig, (DeGruyter, forthcoming).
Pritchard, Duncan, ‘Knowledge and Understanding’, Virtue Scientia: Bridges Between Virtue Epistemology and Philosophy of Science, (ed.) A. Fairweather, 315-28, (Springer, 2014).
Topic 4: Radical Scepticism and Hinge Commitments
Our focus in this section will be on the nature of the problem of radical scepticism, and on a particular way of responding to that problem proposed by Wittgenstein in On Certainty. On the former front, we will look at different formulations of the sceptical problem and how they relate to one another. On the latter front, we will examine several prominent interpretations of Wittgenstein’s account of hinge commitments.
Pritchard, Duncan, Epistemic Angst: Radical Skepticism and the Groundlessness of Our Believing, (Princeton University Press, 2015), parts 1 & 2.
Topic 5: Epistemological Disjunctivism and the Biscopic Response to Radical Scepticism
Our focus in this section will be on a controversial account of the nature of perceptual knowledge in paradigm cases, known as epistemological disjunctivism. We will explore some of the difficulties that this view faces, and also its potential application to the problem of radical scepticism. In particular, we will examine how it might form part of what is known as a biscopic treatment of this problem, which intertwines epistemological disjunctivism with a form of Wittgensteinian anti-scepticism.
Pritchard, Duncan, Epistemic Angst: Radical Skepticism and the Groundlessness of Our Believing, (Princeton University Press, 2015), parts 3 & 4.
The course will combine lectures by the course instructors with seminar-like discussions to which students are expected to actively contribute.
Evaluation will be based on active participation in class and a final essay, of around 3000 words, on a pertinent question to be agreed with the course instructors.
Intended Learning Outcomes:
CB6. Students should be able to critically understand central texts in epistemology in a way that puts them in a position to develop and apply original ideas.
CB9. Students should be able to communicate their knowledge and their arguments to specialized audiences in a clear and articulate way.
CG2. Students should be able to design, create, develop and undertake new and innovative projects in their area of expertise.
CG3. Students should be able to engage both in general and specific discussions in the domain of epistemology. They should be able to conduct a philosophical discussion (orally and in written form), by putting forward, for example, general arguments or specific examples, in support of one’s position.
CG4. Students should be able to work both independently and in a team, in an international environment.
CG5. Students should be able to identify methodological errors, rhetorical, conventional and uncritical assumptions, vagueness and superficiality.
CE1. Students should be able to critically engage with the concepts and methods of contemporary epistemology.
CE2. Students shoulld be able to identify the core arguments and theories of contemporary epistemology.
CE4. Students should be able to assess the writings of leading contemporary philosophers in the field of epistemology.
CE5. Students should be able to identify and critically engage with the current state of a particular philosophical debate, and form a reasoned view, even if provisional, about it.
CE7. Students should be able to critically use specialized terminology in the field of epistemology.
Pritchard, Duncan, The Nature and Value of Knowledge: Three Investigations, (with A. Haddock & A. Millar), (Oxford UP, 2010), chs. 1-4.
Pritchard, Duncan, Epistemic Angst: Radical Skepticism and the Groundlessness of Our Believing, (Princeton UP, 2015).