Topics in epistemology (5cr)
- Academic year
- Department of Philosophy
- Universitat de Barcelona
- Master courses
- Module 7. Issues in Contemporary Theoretical and Practical Philosophy
- 2021-02-09 - 2021-04-27
- Tuesdays, 16:30-19:30
- UB, Facultat de Filosofia, room TBA
This course will touch on a series of contemporary topics in epistemology, and problems about different kinds of knowledge.
After a brief background about knowledge and justification, we will cover issues related with self-knowledge, group knowledge, propaganda and ideology, internalism vs externalism in epistemic justification, and epistemic injustice.
The course thus makes a transition from issues about knowledge of oneself to a series of contemporary debates in what has come to be known as social epistemology.
The teaching for this module will be delivered through 12 lectures (50 min per week) and 10 seminar sessions (1.5h per week, after the lectures). The lectures will introduce students to the main themes of the modules, enabling them to fruitfully engage with the seminar readings. Having read the text, during the seminar we will discuss it and analyse its connections with more general issues in epistemology. In each seminar session, one student will be in charge of leading the debate.
What do I need to do to prepare for the seminar?
Before each seminar, you are required to:
- read the paper
- complete your assignment and send it to the instructor
- bring a copy of the paper and of the assignment (printed or on a tablet) to the seminar
What is the assignment for the seminar?
The assignment involves two parts.
- One or more questions that you have about the paper. Questions can be specific or general, and of any kind (about something that you don’t understand, something that you think doesn’t work, etc.)
- A written exercise about the paper you read. This needs to be (1) 200 words or more (no worries if it’s a little bit less!); (2) demonstrate that you have read and understood the paper, and (3) serve as a point of reference to the discussion in class. What you write in the assignment is totally up to you. It can be a summary of the paper, but it can also be a critical discussion of one of its sections or of a minor question it raises. It can be written as a micro-essay, or simply as a list of bullet points that summarise the paper. But it can also be something more creative: a fake review or report, a story, or a creative piece of writing – as long as you satisfy condition (1), (2) or (3) listed above. Be creative if you feel like it, or stick to a short summary of the article if you prefer a more traditional approach.
Deadline for the assignment: the night before each seminar
These 9 exercises are worth ~30% of your final mark. Each exercise is worth about 3 points. You will lose 2 points for failing to meet the deadline, and 3 for failing to submit at all. If you think you may have some reason to get an extension to the deadline, you can contact me by email.
Note that seminar sessions are an important part of the course. Seminars are meant for students to develop and put into practice fundamental philosophical skills: critically evaluate your own and other people’s arguments, think in a rigorous and systematic fashion, develop well-structured and valid arguments and present them in a clear and convincing way. Active participation in them is just as important for learning as is attendance at lectures, and it will also contribute to your final mark (~10%).
Your final examination will involve the redaction of a short essay. You will be required to prepare an original piece of work under 3000 words. Potential essay topics include any of the subjects discussed during lectures and any of the seminar readings, and towards the end of the course I will provide you with some sample questions to help you to identify a topic for your essay.
Students have the right to a half-hour tutorial to discuss their essay plans. Tutorials will take place 2-3 weeks before the essay deadline (available slots will be communicated in due time). You will need to send me a draft or outline of the essay at least 3 days (72 hours) in advance of the meeting. No tutorial will be granted to students failing to do so.
Essays must be submitted electronically, by sending them to the instructor.
The university has a strict policy on plagiarism and unfair means. Please refer to this link for more information on this.
Tutorial Meeting Arrangement: Last lecture
Draft For Tutorial (lecturer): 3 days (72 hours) in advance of the meeting
Final Essay Submission Deadline: TBA (around mid-June)
The final mark will be based on active participation in the seminars, the practical exercises, and the final essay.
Class participation: ~10 %.
Practical exercises: ~30 %.
Critical essay: 60 %
COVID-19: This course will be taught in person by default. Depending on the sanitary crisis, and on the advice of health authorities, the teaching could switch to an online format. The schedule and evaluation methods would remain the same.