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Loyola University Chicago

Department of Philosophy

PHIL 275: Theory of Knowledge

PHIL 275: Theory of Knowledge

The Generic Catalog Description

This course is an inquiry into the foundations of knowledge and the nature of truth. It examines traditional and contemporary approaches to truth, and theories about the relationship between knowledge and reality. Some of the topics are the status of knowledge and facts, doubt, evidence, the problems of the verification and justification of knowledge, and particular problems regarding the truth of certain types of statements, such as moral statements and statements about the future.


PHIL 275: Theory of Knowledge

James Murphy, SJ

Questions about the nature of knowledge – whether we can ever have any, and what it takes to count as having knowledge – have played a central role in philosophy’s history and the history of the sciences.  In some periods of history, epistemology (or theory of knowledge) has been viewed as the foundation of all philosophy.  This course is an introduction to and creative engagement with epistemological issues.   It deals with: (1) Different kinds of knowledge, including propositional knowledge (‘knowing that’), skill (‘knowing how’), moral knowledge, interpersonal knowledge (‘knowing you’), and religious knowledge. (2) The sources of knowledge: perception, inference, experience, testimony, and reason. (3) What it means to be a knower: experience, understanding, and judgment as elements of human cognitive experience, and the epistemic virtues that widen and deepen that experience. (4) Intentionality and self-transcendence. (5) The value of knowledge.  (6) What the sciences show about knowledge.


PHIL 275: Theory of Knowledge

Peter Bergeron

Epistemology is the branch of philosophy that studies knowledge. It asks questions like: What is knowledge? What can humans know? How do humans come to know? Skepticism represents a challenge to the epistemological project. While it comes in a great variety of forms, it always denies that humans (can) have (some form of) knowledge. In this course we will take skepticism as worthy of serious philosophical scrutiny. In particular we will consider skepticism in religious knowledge, a domain in which many assume that skepticism is the only reasonable position. More specifically, we will consider (1) the problem of the criterion and (2) the nature and power of reason as conceived in Western philosophy from the time of the seventeenth century. The work of Montaigne, Descartes, and Pascal will provide our primary sources for the course.
As a CORE class that satisfies the “Philosophical Knowledge” requirement this course is designed to achieve several objectives. First, it will introduce students to the study of philosophy and some of the methods used by philosophers. Second, it will introduce several important philosophical issues while leading students to reflect seriously upon them. Third, it will provide students with an opportunity to understand, compare, and evaluate different views about the nature and reliability of human knowledge. And, fourth, it will provide students with an opportunity to develop their skills at reading and understanding texts, interpreting arguments, and critically evaluating arguments and positions.



Loyola

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