Professor Talbott†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Autumn 2011

Office:Savery 387†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Philosophy 550A:††

Phone:543-5095††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Seminar in Epistemology†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Mon.:3:30-6:00

Office Hours:Wed. 3:30-4:20 and by appointment††††† ††††††††††† ††††††††††† SAV 408†††††††††

URL:†††††††††††††† ††††††††††† †††††††††††




PHILOSOPHY 550A.Seminar in 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:Since the ancient Greeks, Western epistemology has been dominated by mathematical proof as a paradigm for knowledge and rational belief.Beginning in the 19th century, epistemologists began to look for alternatives to the Proof Paradigm, but the presuppositions of that paradigm have continued to hamstring even those who claim to have rejected it.In this course, we will trace the influence of the Proof Paradigm on contemporary epistemology and read a partially completed book manuscript of mine in which I offer an alternative to it.In this course you will grapple with difficult texts and explain and discuss some of the most important issues in contemporary epistemology, both orally and in writing.This is a challenging course.


II. Course Readings.The required readings include one course reader with my manuscript and lots of articles on E-Reserve.The course reader is available for purchase at the University Book Store.


††††††††††† 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 to messages to me within 24 hours.My email address appears above.

††††††††††† 2. CLASS PREPARATION AND ATTENDANCE.The class meets each Monday, 3:30-6:00.Everyone is expected to do the assigned readings in advance and to attend and to participate in the discussion.General class participation can improve your grade but cannot lower it.

3. SHORT (2-PAGE) RESPONSE PAPERS.Each week, except the first and last, you will send me a written discussion of some important issue raised by the readings.The response paper should be grounded in the readings, but it should not be purely expository.It should explain one or more important ideas in the readings and then critically discuss the ideas.Submit your papers to the PHIL 550 electronic dropbox by noon on the day they are due (URL: receive full credit for your response paper, you must be in class on the day it is due, unless your absence is excused.Unexcused, late work can earn up to one-half credit.

††††††††††† 4.DISCUSSION LEADER.Each student will take a lead role in a one-half-hour discussion on one of the discussion topics in weeks 8 or week 9.Up to two students may sign up for each topic.If two of you sign up for the same topic, you must divide the topic so that one of you explains my view and the other explains the opposing view(s).Then each of you should defend the side you explain.Be careful to be generous to the opposing side.If you are the only person to sign up for a topic, you are responsible for explaining both sides.Sign-ups are on a first-come, first-served basis.All students must sign up by the end of class on Oct. 10.

††††††††††† 5. TERM PAPER (12-20 PAGES).Each student is required to prepare a term paper. Any of the issues discussed in the course could be the basis for a term paper.I will provide many suggestions for term paper topics during the course.All term paper topics must be discussed with me and approved on or before the end of class on Monday, Nov. 28 (though you are encouraged to talk to me about your term paper before that date).

††††††††††† TERM PAPER DRAFTS ARE DUE IN THE PHIL 550 ELECTRONIC DROPBOX BY MIDNIGHT ON MONDAY, DEC. 5.To get full credit for your draft, you must be in class on that day to discuss your topic in class, unless your absence is excused.

††††††††††† FINAL TERM PAPERS ARE DUE AT IN THE PHIL 550 ELECTRONIC DROPBOX BY MIDNIGHT ON TUESDAY DEC. 13.Reasonable extensions of time for any of the deadlines may be requested.See below for more information on extensions of time.


††††††††††† IV. Extensions Of Time.Extensions of time should be requested in advance of the deadline.Unexcused, late work will be penalized.However, late work still earns partial credit.I DO NOT INTEND TO GRANT ANY INCOMPLETES, EXCEPT IN CASES OF GENUINE EMERGENCIES.


††††††††††† V. Course Web Site.All handouts and transparencies will be available on the course Web site (see URL above).


††††††††††† 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. Grades.Grades will be based on total points (out of a total possible of 310 points) as follows:Response papers (80 pointsó10 Points Each); discussion leader (10 points); draft term paper (20 points) and term paper (200 points). Grades are based on total 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.Monday Dec. 5 in class.The course evaluation is your opportunity to evaluate my performance and to provide suggestions for improving the course.



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