Professor Talbott Autumn 2006
Office: Savery 252 Philosophy 350A:
Phone: 543-5095 Introduction to Epistemology
Email: wtalbott@ TuTh: 1:30-3:20 pm
Office Hours: Wed., 3:30 to 4:30 pm and by appointment SAV 343
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 me so we can 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.
III. Course Requirements.
1. Class Attendance: Students are required to attend all classes. Classes are TuTh 1:30-3:20 pm in SAV 343, except for Thursday, Nov. 23 (Thanksgiving Day).
2. Email. I will send out important class and individual messages to your U.W. email account. You should check that account regularly. I also encourage you to use email to contact me. My email address appears above. I usually answer email messages within 24 hours during the week and within 48 hours on weekends and holidays.
3. 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 fina exam. Questions will be posted on the course Web site after the class in which they are asked. Each answer will be worth 5 points. If you receive less than 3 points on your answer to an end-of-class question, you may resubmit for up to 5 points credit. All answers and resubmits must be received before the final exam.
4. Homework Assignments. There will be four homework assignments worth 10 points each. Each assignment will be aimed at giving you practice in the skills necessary to write a philosophy paper. The homework assignments with due dates will be posted on the course Web site. To receive full credit for a homework assignment, you must be in class on the day it is due for discussion or have an excused absence.
5. Short Paper (5-7 Pages). There will be one 5-7 page paper worth 100 points. The paper topic and due date will be posted on the course Web site. The paper should be submitted as an email attachment in Word DOC or RTF format. The filename should begin with your last name.
6. Midterm Exam (100 Points). The midterm exam will be given in class on Tuesday, Oct. 31. Study questions will be posted on the course Web site before the exam.
7. Final Exam (200 Points). The final exam will take place in SAV 343 at 2:30 pm on Fri., Dec. 15. Study questions will be posted on the course Web site before the exam.
NOTE: Please bring a pen and blank blue/green books with no missing pages to all exams.
IV. Course Web Site. All handouts, transparencies, and end-of-class questions 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. 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.
VI. Extensions Of Time. Extensions of time should be requested in advance of the deadline. Unexcused, late work will be penalized.
VII. Grades. 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.
VIII. Course Evaluation. Friday, Dec. 8, 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 345, during the first week of Winter Quarter. If you would like your Final Exam to be mailed to you, please provide me with a stamped, self-addressed envelope for mailing.