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Issues in Epistemology

Unit code: PHIL30331
Credit Rating: 20
Unit level: Level 3
Teaching period(s): Semester 1
Offered by Philosophy
Available as a free choice unit?: N



Additional Requirements

40 PHIL credits  of Level 2 Philosophy courses


The course aims to:

- provide students with a detailed understanding of some of the issues and disputes that make up contemporary epistemology
- to help students come to terms with some of the central texts in the field
- encourage students to think through the issues raised for themselves and arrive at well-argued conclusions


The course will deal in detail with some and touch on all of the following topics: the definition of knowledge; the problem of scepticism; foundationalism and coherentism; the concept of justification; traditional vs. naturalised epistemology; epistemic internalism and externalism; reliabilism; epistemic contextualism; testimony; social epistemology.

Teaching and learning methods

One 2-hour lecture and one 1-hour tutorial weekly

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this course unit, students will be able to demonstrate:

- a critical understanding of some of the disputes that make up contemporary epistemology
- a thorough knowledge of some of the central texts in the field
- an informed opinion about how to answer (or not to) the problems discussed
- an ability to write concisely, relevantly and analytically about the issues raised, both in an essay and under exam conditions

Employability skills

  • Analytical skills
  • Oral communication
  • Research
  • Written communication

Assessment methods

  • Written exam - 67%
  • Written assignment (inc essay) - 33%

Recommended reading

A. Morton, A Guide through the Theory of Knowledge, Oxford: Blackwell, 3rd ed. 2003, or
R. Audi, Epistemology, A Contemporary Introduction, London: Routledge, 1998.

Feedback methods

The School of Social Sciences (SoSS) is committed to providing timely and appropriate feedback to students on their academic progress and achievement, thereby enabling students to reflect on their progress and plan their academic and skills development effectively. Students are reminded that feedback is necessarily responsive: only when a student has done a certain amount of work and approaches us with it at the appropriate fora is it possible for us to feed back on the student's work. The main forms of feedback on this course are written feedback responses to assessed essays and exam answers.

We also draw your attention to the variety of generic forms of feedback available to you on this as on all SoSS courses. These include: meeting the lecturer/tutor during their office hours; e-mailing questions to the lecturer/tutor; asking questions from the lecturer (before and after lecture); presenting a question on the discussion board on Blackboard; and obtaining feedback from your peers during tutorials.

Study hours

  • Lectures - 20 hours
  • Tutorials - 10 hours
  • Independent study hours - 170 hours

Teaching staff

Thomas Uebel - Unit coordinator

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