The Dennes Room

Philosophy 122

Spring 2016

Number Title Instructor Days/time Room
122 Theory of Knowledge Stroud TuTh 11-12:30 210 Wheeler

An upper-division course in the philosophical theory of knowledge. Not a general survey of the field, but an investigation of three fundamental epistemological questions about perceptual knowledge. -How does what we perceive give us knowledge of what is so in the world around us at that very time? -How does what we have perceived give us knowledge of what is so but is not being perceived at the moment? -How does what each of us perceives about other people give us knowledge of the thoughts, feelings, and attitudes of those people? There is a long tradition in philosophy according to which the most anyone is ever aware of in sense-perception alone are certain features of our perceptual experiences, not the ways things are in the independent world we all believe in. This has made it look as if perceptual knowledge of those aspects of the world is, strictly speaking, impossible. This course investigates the support for this conception of perceptual experience and its “skeptical” implications for our knowledge of familiar objects around us, our knowledge of things we are not perceiving to be so at the moment, and our knowledge of other people’s thoughts, feelings, and attitudes. The challenge is to understand how, given the distinctively philosophical character of the epistemological problems, we nonetheless do have perceptual knowledge of these aspects of the independent world. Two lecture-discussion classes and one discussion section each week. Students will be expected to write three five-page papers, one on each of the three topics, as well as whatever writing is assigned in connection with discussion sections. Lectures and discussions will presuppose close reading of the material contained in a Philosophy 122 reader (available at the beginning of the semester) as well as supplementary reading suggested at different points during the semester.

Previously taught: FL14, FL13, SP13, FL11, FL10, FL09, FL07, SP07, FL05, FL04.