Academic year
2015/2016
Teacher
Sven Rosenkranz
Department
Department of Philosophy
University
Universitat de Barcelona
Itinerary
Master courses
Module
Module 3. Research Seminar in Theoretical Philosophy
Code
570631
Credits
5
Language
English
Schedule
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
Location
Room 409 (01/02-05/02), Seminari de Lògica (08/02-10/02), Seminari de Filosofia (11/02),Facultat de Filosofia, UB

Description

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

General Summary 

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.

 Virtue epistemology.

 Epistemic value.

 The nature of understanding.

 Perceptual knowledge.

 Radical scepticism.

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.

Readings

 Pritchard, Duncan, Epistemology, (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016), chs.1&2.

Further Reading

 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.

Core Readings

 Pritchard, Duncan, Epistemology, (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016), chs.3&4.

Further Reading

 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.

Readings

 Pritchard, Duncan, The Nature and Value of Knowledge: Three Investigations,(with A. Haddock & A. Millar), (Oxford University Press, 2010), chs. 1-4.

Further Readings

 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.

Readings

 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.

Readings

 Pritchard, Duncan, Epistemic Angst: Radical Skepticism and the Groundlessness of Our Believing, (Princeton University Press, 2015), parts 3 & 4.

 

 


Methodology

The course will combine lectures by the course instructors with seminar-like discussions to which students are expected to actively contribute.


Evaluation

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.

 

 


Bibliography

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).