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PH252 Course materials 2014/15

Module Tutor: Dr Johannes Roessler

Core reading (= absolutely essential reading) for each week are the papers below marked with an asterisk. The core reading should be printed out and read before the relevant lecture. A large number of papers relevant to this course are collected in Epistemology. An Anthology. (ed. by Ernest Sosa, Jaegwon Kim, Jeremy Fantl and Matthew McGrath) Blackwell 2008. Helpful introductory textbooks on epistemology include: R. Fumerton, Epistemology; J. Dancy, An Introduction to Contemporary Epistemology; D. Pritchard, What is this thing called knowledge?


week 1
week 2
week 3
week 4
week 5
week 7
week 8
week 9
week 10

Questions for non-assessed essays

Questions for assessed essays

Week 1 Gettier problems
*E. Gettier, ‘Is Justified True Belief Knowledge?’

Supplementary reading:
A.J. Ayer, The Problem of Knowledge, ch. 1 (esp pp. 31-35)
J. Jenkins Ichikawa/M. Steup, 'The Analysis of Knoweldge', Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
L. Zagzebski, 'The Inescapability of Gettier problems', The Philosophical Quarterly 1994
R. Fogelin, Pyrrhonian Reflections on Knowledge and Justiifcation
G.Pappas & M.Swain (eds.), Essays on Knowledge and Justification. (The editors' introduction is helpful, and the volume contains some classic responses to the Gettier problem.)
R.Shope, The Analysis of Knowing (helpful guide to the first two decades of work on the 'Gettier problem')

Week 2 Tracking the truth
*R. Nozick, ‘Knowledge and Scepticism’ [extract from Philosophical Explanations]

Supplementary reading:
J. Dancy, Introduction to Contemporary Epistemology, ch. 3 (this is a useful introduction to Nozick's account)
S. Kripke, 'Nozick on Knowledge' in his Philosophical Troubles vol. 1
J. Vogel, ‘Are there counterexamples to the closure principle?’, reprinted in Sosa et al., Epistemology (ch. 23) (See also the editors’ Introduction to part IV, pp. 233-5
Dretske & Hawthorne, 'Is knowledge closed under known entailment?' in Steup & Sosa (eds.), Contemporary Debates in Epistemology
A. Bruckner, 'Why Nozick is a Sceptic', Mind 1984
F. Dretske, 'Epistemic Operators', reprinted in Sosa et al., Epistemology
B. Stroud, The philosophical Signifiance of Scepticism chs. 1 and 2 (ch. 1 is reprinted in Sosa et al., Epistemology)
Week 3 Knowledge and rationality
*L.BonJour ‘Externalist Theories of Empirical Knowledge’

Supplementary reading:
R. Brandom, 'Insights and Blindspots of Reliabilism'
F.Dretske, ‘Entitlement: Epistemic Rights without Epistemic Duties?’, Phillosophy and Phenomenological Research 60, 2000
Dretske, ‘Two Conceptions of Knowledge: Rational vs Reliable Belief’, in his Perception, Knowledge and Belief
B. Williams, 'Knowledge and Reasons', in his Philosophy as a Humanistic Discipline
Goldman, ‘Internalism Exposed’, Ch. 29 in Sosa et al, Epistemology
BonJour, ‘Recent work on the internalism-externalism controversy’, in Dancy et al, A Companion to Epistemology
W. Alston, 'An internalist externalism', ​Synthese​ 74, 1988, reprinted in his ​Epistemic Justiifcation
Vogel, ‘Reliabilism Leveled’, ch 27 in Sosa et al, Epistemology
Greco & Feldman, ‘Is Justification Internal?’, in M. Steup and E Sosa (eds), Contemporary Debates in Epistemology

Week 4 Is knowledge a mental state?
*T.Williamson, ‘A state of mind’ (This is chapter 1 of Knowledge and its Limits)

Supplementary Reading:
Williamson, Knowledge and its Limits, ch 2 (for his discussion of the causal role of knowledge)
J.Sutton, 'Stick to what you know', Nous 35, 2005
T. Williamson, 'Knowing and Assertion', Philosophical Review 105, 1996
P. Greenough & D. Pritchard *eds.), Williamson on Knowledge (see esp. the chapters by Q Cassam, A. Goldman, E. Fricker. See also Williamson's replies to them at the ned of hte volume.)
A. Bird, 'Justified Judging', ​Philosophy and Phenomenological Research​ 74, 2007
L. Zagzebski, 'The Inescapability of Gettier problems', The Philosophical Quarterly 1994

Week 5 Contextualist responses to scepticism
*D.Lewis, ‘Elusive Knowledge’

Supplementary reading:
B. Stroud, The Significance of Philosophical Scepticism ch. 2
K. DeRose, ‘Contextualism: An Explanation and Defence’, in J. Greco & E. Sosa (eds.), The Blackwell Giude to Epistemology
K. DeRose, ‘”Bamboozled by our Own Words’: Semantic Blindness and Some Objections to Contextualism’, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 73, 2006 (reprinted in his The Case fo Contextualism)
K. DeRose, The Case for Contextualism
S. Schiffer ‘Contextualist Solutions to Scepticism’ Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society XCVI (1996) 317-333.
R. Feldman, “Skeptical Problems, contextualist solutions’, Philosophical Studies 103 (2001), 61-85.

Week 7 Acquaintance and sense data
*B. Russell, The Problems of Philosophy, chs.1, 2, 4, 5

Supplementary reading
On the distinction between acquaintance and propositional knowledge:
J. Campbell, ‘Consciousness and Reference’, in B. McLaughlin, A. Beckermann and S. Walter (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Mind. Oxford: OUP. 648-662.

On the argument from Illusion:
D. Smith. The Problem of Perception
M. Martin, ‘Perception’, in A.C. Grayling (ed.), Philosophy 1. A guide through the subject. OUP 1995. pp. 26-43

Sellars's critique of the sense-datum theory:
W. Sellars, Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind. Excerpt reprinted in Sosa et al. Epistemology, ch. 8 (‘Does Empirical Knowledge have a Foundation?’)
M. Williams, Problems of Knowledge chs. 8 & 15
P. Snowdon, 'Some Sellarsian Myths'

Other reponses to the sense-datum theory (all collected in J. Dancy (ed.) , Perceptual Knowledge)
P. Strawson, 'Perception and its objects'
J. McDowell, 'Criteria, Defeasibility, and Knowledge'
P. Snowdon, 'Perception, Vision and Causation'

Week 8 Sensory appearances and perceptual knolwedge
A. Millar, 'The scope of perceptual knowledge'

Supplementary reading:
F. Dretske, Seeing and Knowing, ch. 2 sections 1 and 4 (pp. 78-93 and 126-139)
J. McDowell, Mind and World chs. 1-2
R. Brandom, 'Insights and Blindspots of Reliabilism' (download available under week 3)
— , 'Placing McDowell's Empiricism', in N.Smith (ed.), Reading McDowell
J. McDowell, Perception as a Capacity for Knowledge
—, 'Responses to Stroud and Brandom', in N.Smith (ed.), Reading McDowell
B.Brewer, 'internalism and Perceptual Knowledge', European Journal of Philosophy 4 (1996)
J. Roessler, 'Perceptual Experience and Perceptual Knowledge', Mind 118, 2009

Week 9 Anti-individualism and scepticism
B. Stroud, 'Anti-individualism and scepticism'

D. Davidson, ‘A coherence theory of truth and knowledge’, reprinted in Sosa et al. Epistemology, ch. 11
B. Stroud, ‘Radical Interpretation and Philosophical Scepticism’, in his Understanding Human Knowledge
T. Burge, ‘Cartesian Error and the Objectivity of Perception’, in R. Grimm&D. Merrill (eds.), Contents of Thought, (repr. in J.McDowell & P. Pettit, Subject, Thought and Context)
P. Strawson, Individuals ch. 3
Scepticism and Naturalism ch. 1
J. Ellis, 'Strouds Proposal for Removing the Threat of Skepticism', in N.Kolodny et al, The Possibility of Philosophical Understanding
T. Nagel, 'Davidson's New Cogito', in L.E.Hahn (ed.), The Philosophy of Donald Davidson
B.Stroud, Understanding Human Knowledge, chs. 11 & 13

Week 10 Knowledge in action
*J. Hyman, 'How knowledge works'

Supplementary reading:
J. Hyman, The road to Larissa
Williamson, Knowledge and its Limits, pp. 78-80
J. Kvanvig, ’The value of knowledge is external to it’, in R. Neta & D. Pritchard (eds.), Arguing about Knowledge
J. Hawthore & J. Stanley, 'Knowledge and Action, Journal of Philosophy
J. McDowell, 'Acting in the light of a fact', in D. Bakhurst et al. (eds.), Thinking about Reasons
J. Dancy, 'Acting in Ignorance', Frontiers of Philosophy in China 2011