PHI6110 Theory of Knowledge

Outline

Epistemology — or theory of knowledge — attempts to produce answers to four main problem areas. (1) What is knowledge? Or what do we mean by `knowledge´? How should knowledge be differentiated from mere opinion? Can we give a precise explication of the concept? Should this explication involve an analysis into more basic concepts? Or is knowledge basic in its own right? (2) Given some account of what knowledge is, can we distinguish those things that we can about from those things that we cannot know about? Are there important boundaries within the province of knowledge? (3) Is there just one way of getting knowledge? Or are there different ways in which knowledge is acquired and retained? If there are different ways, should these different ways be associated with different epistemological accounts? What are these accounts? (4) Is it possible to obtain knowledge at all? This problem is pressing because there are powerful arguments that suggest that it is not.

Suggested reading

Williams, M, Problems of Knowledge, Oxford, 2001
Dancy, J, Introduction to Contemporary Epistemology, Blackwell, 1985