Academic year
Fernando Broncano-Berrocal
Department of Philosophy
Universitat de Barcelona
Master courses
Module 7. Issues in Contemporary Theoretical and Practical Philosophy
2023-02-10 - 2023-04-28
Fridays, 11:00 - 14:00
Philosophy Faculty (UB), Room 407.


Course Instructor

Fernando Broncano-Berrocal

Ramón y Cajal Research Fellow

Department of Philosophy, University of Barcelona

Email: (please use it only if it is not possible for you to communicate with me in class; your question will probably find an answer here).

LOGOS Research Group:

General Description

This course offers you the opportunity to develop four core skills for a successful academic career in philosophy: reading, discussing, presenting, and writing philosophy. In terms of content, the course is an advanced introduction to social epistemology, the branch of epistemology that deals with the social aspects of knowledge. In particular, it is an in-depth, up-to-date introduction to four key topics in social epistemology:

  • Epistemic injustice
  • The epistemology of testimony
  • The epistemology of groups
  • The epistemology of disagreement

(See the session descriptions below for the relevant subtopics).

The classes will be discussion-based. The first session introduces the methodology and the general topic of the course (social epistemology). The other ten sessions will be held as a seminar. This means that you will need to do the following:

In parallel, and ideally as soon as possible, you will be expected to write a research paper on one of the topics in the course or on another topic in social epistemology.

Two weeks before the deadline, you will present your work in progress at an asynchronous online conference, and your classmates will give you their feedback (see Writing Methodology, Presentation Methodology, Feedback Methodology, and Evaluation and Deadlines).


Reading Methodology

The course texts will be read collectively on Perusall, an online tool where you can and should add your own comments to the texts for your classmates to read. These comments can be simple doubts, clarificatory questions, reconstructions of the arguments of the text, elaborated counterarguments, counterexamples, and objections of any kind, but also references to related discussions or works. The idea is to use such comments in class discussion.

To enroll in the Perusall course, all you need to do is create a Perusall account and enter the course code when registering.

Discussion Methodology

The instructor will act as moderator and ensure that student comments on Perusall and other relevant topics are discussed.

Aside from these written comments, you are expected to actively participate in the group discussion by presenting your point of view and dynamically moving the discussion forward by responding to other students' comments (i.e., you are expected to agree, disagree, or follow up).

Writing Methodology

The length of the research paper will be between 3000-5000 words. However, the length of the paper (within these limits) will not be considered relevant for evaluation. Instead, your paper will be evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Philosophical rigor and depth (including whether the structure is in service of the dialectical goals).
  • Clarity.
  • Mastery of the topic (including mastery of the philosophical concepts).
  • Originality.

Presentation Methodology

Two weeks before the research paper deadline, we will host a (Mock) Social Epistemology Conference, where you will be both a speaker and an audience member.

  • As a speaker, you will defend the main thesis of your research paper in a 10-minute presentation.
  • As an audience member, you will comment on the other students' presentations.

To accommodate the likely busy schedules of participants, the conference will be asynchronous and last one week. This means the following:

  • Three days before the conference, you must submit a pre-recorded video presentation. 
    • You must use slides (e.g., PowerPoint, Google Slides, Beamer). 
    • You can use Zoom to record yourself presenting the slides (instructions will be provided).
  • The instructor will upload your video presentation to a website where the other students will have the opportunity to view it.
  • During the conference, you will receive at least one written critical comment on your presentation from each of the other students.
  • Conversely, you must provide at least one written critical comment on the other students' presentations (to all of them). Write your comments as YouTube comments (only participants in the course can see your video, read your comments, or access the website).
  • You may respond to the other students' comments on your presentation, but you are not required to do so. 
  • The other students may respond to your responses, but are not required to do so.
  • And so on. 
  • The deadline for submitting your comments is the last day of the conference.

It is highly advisable that your presentation be based on an almost finished draft so that you can incorporate the feedback you receive (if relevant), polish the paper, and submit it. In this sense, the mock conference serves as a final quality check before submission.

Feedback Methodology

You will receive feedback on your work from two sources. 

First, the instructor will be happy to give you advice and feedback on the writing process at any time. In order to keep email correspondence to a minimum, this feedback will be given informally before or after class, or as needed during office hours. (In either case, you are required to tell the instructor the topic of your paper, even if you do not want or need feedback or advice.)

Second, you will receive at least as many comments at the mock conference as there are enrolled students minus one (i.e., you).


One session per week, 3 hours per session.

Week 1. Introduction to the Course (February 10)

  • General introduction to epistemology/social epistemology. 
  • Explanation of the methodology and organizational aspects of the course.

Week 2. Epistemic Injustice: Testimonial Injustice, Credibility (February 17 — 24 pages)

  • Fricker, Miranda. 2011. Rational Authority and Social Power: Towards a More Truly Social Epistemology. In Goldman, A. & Whitcomb, D. (eds.). Social Epistemology: Essential Readings. Oxford University Press. (15 pages)
  • Luzzi, Federico (2016). Testimonial Injustice Without Credibility Deficit. Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 5: 203-211. (9 pages)

Week 3. Epistemic Injustice: White Ignorance (February 24— 21 pages)

  • Martín, Annette 2021. What is White Ignorance? The Philosophical Quarterly 71: 864-85. (21 pages)

Week 4. Testimony: Reductionism, Nonreductionism, Transmission  (March 3 — 26 pages)

  • Lackey, Jennifer. 2011. Testimony: Acquiring Knowledge from Others. In Goldman, A. & Whitcomb, D. (eds.). Social Epistemology: Essential Readings. Oxford University Press. (15 pages) 
  • Carter, J. Adam & Nickel, Philip J. 2014. On Testimony and Transmission. Episteme 11: 145-155. (11 pages)

Week 5. Testimony: Expert Testimony (March 10 — 20 pages)

  • Grundmann, Thomas (forthcoming). Experts: What are they and how can laypeople identify them? In Jennifer Lackey & Aidan McGlynn (eds.). Oxford Handbook of Social Epistemology. Oxford University Press (20 pages).

Week 6. Groups: Group Belief (March 17— 24 pages)

  • Lackey, Jennifer. 2020. Group Belief: Lessons from Lies and Bullshit. Chapter 1 of The Epistemology of Groups. Oxford University Press. (24 pages) 

Week 7. Groups: Justified Group Belief (March 24— 37 pages)

  • Lackey, Jennifer. 2020. What Is Justified Group Belief?. Chapter 2 of The Epistemology of Groups. Oxford University Press. (37 pages)

Week 8. Groups: Collective Epistemic Virtues and Vices (March 31 —  30 pages)

  • Fricker, Miranda. 2010. Can There Be Institutional Virtues? In Szabo Gendler, T & Hawthorne, J. (eds.). Oxford Studies in Epistemology. Volume 3. Oxford University Press. (30 pages)

Week 9. Disagreement: The Concept of Disagreement  (April 14 — 20 pages)

  • Worsnip, Alex. 2019. Disagreement as Interpersonal Incoherence. Res Philosophica 96: 245-268. (20 pages)

Week 10. Disagreement: The Equal Weight View, the Total Evidence View (April 21 — 34 pages)

  • Kelly, Thomas. 2011. Peer Disagreement and Higher-Order Evidence. In Goldman, A. & Whitcomb, D. (eds.). Social Epistemology: Essential Readings. Oxford University Press. (34 pages)


Evaluation and Deadlines

Video presentation at the mock conference: 20%.

  • Conference duration: May 19-26.
  • Presentation format:
    • You must use slides (e.g., PowerPoint, Google Slides, Beamer). 
    • You can use Zoom to record yourself presenting the slides. 
  • Deadline to submit your pre-recorded video presentation: May 15.

Written comments on other students' presentations: 10%.

  • Deadline to submit your comments: May 26.

Research paper: 70%. 

  • Length: 3000-5000 words.
  • File format: PDF.
  • Please include:
    • Your name in the submitted document. 
    • A 150-200 word abstract.

Deadline to submit your research paper: June 2.


Background Readings

For a general introduction to social epistemology:

  • Grasswick, Heidi. 2018. Feminist Social Epistemology. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  • Goldman, Alvin & Blanchard, Thomas. 2011. Social Epistemology. Oxford Bibliographies Online.
  • Goldman, Alvin & O'Connor, Cailin. 2019. Social Epistemology. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  • Goldman, Alvin. 2019. The What, Why, and How of Social Epistemology. In Fricker, M.; Graham, P.; Henderson, D. & Pedersen, N. J. (eds.). The Routledge Handbook of Social Epistemology. Routledge.
  • Lackey, Jennifer & McGlynn, Aidan (eds.) (forthcoming). Oxford Handbook of Social Epistemology. Oxford University Press.

When in doubt about relevant epistemological concepts, problems, or theories:

  • Bernecker, Sven & Pritchard, Duncan (eds.). 2010. The Routledge Companion to Epistemology. Routledge.

For more specific recommendations:

  • Ask the instructor.

Other considerations

The course incorporates the gender perspective by ensuring that the bibliography to be consulted by students contains a substantial number of works written by women


If the public health situation requires it, in-person classes will switch to online.