Professor Talbott†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††† Winter 2014

Office:Savery 387 ††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††† ††††††††††† Philosophy 350A:†††

Phone:543-5095††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††† Introduction to Epistemology

Email:wtalbott@††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††† TuTh: 1:30-3:20 pm

Office Hours:Wed., 2:30 to 4:30 pm and by appointment†††† ††††††††††††††††††††††† Loew 102




PHILOSOPHY 350A:Introduction to Epistemology


††††††††††† Disability Resources For Students.If you would like to request academic accommodations due to a disability, please contact Disability Resources for Students (DRS), 448 Schmitz, (206) 543-8924 (V/TTY).If you have a letter from DRS indicating you have a disability that requires academic accommodations, please present the letter to your TA and discuss the accommodations you might need for the class.

††††††††††† I. Course Goals:What is the difference between knowledge and merely justified belief, or between justified and unjustified belief, or between rational and irrational belief?Epistemology is the branch of philosophy that deals with these questions.In this course, we will consider some of the most influential historical and contemporary answers to these questions.Among the topics to be discussed are: the traditional analysis of knowledge and Gettier problems; the nature of a priori justification; various forms of skepticism; whether we can have knowledge of the external world, of other minds, of the past, and of the future; the nature of empirical justification, with attention to foundationalism and coherentism; naturalized epistemology; virtue epistemology; and the internalist-externalist debate in epistemology.Students will be taught to explain philosophical issues orally and in writing and to read and critically evaluate difficult philosophical texts.

††††††††††† II. Course Readings.There are two required texts:Laurence BonJour, Epistemology: Classic Problems and Contemporary Responses (2nd ed.), and Louis P. Pojman, What Can We Know? An Introduction to the Theory of Knowledge (2nd ed.), The texts are available for purchase at the University Book Store.See the separate course readings handout for weekly reading assignments.Except for the first class, readings should be done before class on the Tuesday of the week for which they are assigned.

††††††††††† III. Course Requirements.

††††††††††† 1. Email Account.You are required to check your U.W. email account regularly.I will use email to broadcast general course announcements.You can use email to ask me questions about the course, including questions about the readings or the discussion in class.You can usually count on receiving a reply within 24 hours.My email address appears above.

††††††††††† 2. End-of-Class Questions.Approximately once per week, you will be asked to give a written answer to a question on the readings or the discussion in lecture.These assignments will provide practice for writing answers to exam questions.To receive credit for an end-of-class question, you must be in class on the day it is answered or have an excused absence.If you have an excused absence, you may submit an answer any time before the final exam.Questions will be posted on the course Web site after the class in which they are asked.If you receive less than half credit on your answer to an end-of-class question, you may resubmit for up to half credit.All answers and resubmits must be received before the final exam.

††††††††††† 3.Homework Assignments.To provide practice for writing a philosophical paper, there will be four written assignments to be turned in to the Canvas site.Students will read all the submissions and vote by email for the best one.See the Canvas site for more information.

††††††††††† 4.Paper Assignment. There will be one 6-8 page paper worth 100 points.The paper should be submitted on the Canvas site by midnight on Tuesday March 4.See the Canvas site for more information. ††

††††††††††† 5.Midterm Exam.The midterm exam will take place in class on Thursday Feb. 6.Review questions for the midterm will be distributed in class on Thursday Jan. 30.There will be a review session for the midterm in class on Tuesday Feb. 4.

††††††††††† 6.Final Exam.The Final Exam will take place at 2:30 pm on Friday March 21 in Loew 102. Final Exam Review Questions will be distributed in class on Thursday March 6.There will be a review session in class on Friday, March 14.Bring a pen and blank exam books to the exam.

††††††††††† IV. Course Web Site.All assignments, handouts, and lecture slides will be available on the course Web site (see URL above).So if you are ever absent, you can check the course Web site to find out what you missed.

††††††††††† V. Grades.Grades will be based on points earned as follows:End-of-class questions (approx.. 40 points); homework assignments (40 pointsó10 points each); paper assignment (100 points); midterm exam (100 points); and final exam (100 points).Grades will be based on points earned as follows:96% = 4.0; 95% = 3.9; 90% = 3.5; 80% = 3.0; 65% = 2.0; 50% = 1.0.Your contribution to discussion in class can improve your grade, but cannot lower it.

††††††††††† VI. Academic Integrity. Whenever you turn in any assignment in this course, the understanding is that what you are turning in is your own original work, except to the extent that you explicitly credit others for their contributions. You have an obligation to avoid even the appearance of impropriety, by always attributing any argument or idea that you have borrowed, even if you have modified it, to its source.The source may be written or oral.For example, if an argument was suggested by a fellow student, include that information in a footnote.If it is determined that there has been cheating that involves one student copying another's work on an assignment or exam, if both students were aware of the copying, both will receive zero credit for the assignment or exam, in addition to any other sanctions that might be imposed.

††††††††††† VII.Extensions Of Time.Extensions of time should be requested in advance of the deadline.Unexcused, late work will be penalized.However, it is much better to turn work in late than not to turn it in at all.

††††††††††† VIII.Course Evaluation.Thursday March 13, in class.The course evaluation is your opportunity to evaluate my performance and to provide suggestions for improving the course.

††††††††††† IX.Return of Final Exams.Unless other arrangements are made, final exams will be available for pick-up in the Philosophy Department Office, Savery 361, during the first week of spring quarter.If you would like your final exam to be mailed to you, please provide your TA with a stamped, self-addressed envelope for mailing.


††††††††††† See the course Web site for more information for students taking philosophy courses.



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