PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE
Learning outcomes of the course unit
The course is meant to introduce students to the study of the main problems and arguments of contemporary epistemology. Further recommended readings will be suggested by the teacher, especially for students in the philosophy course.
The course is addressed to all students and no preliminary knowledge is required either of philosophy or of the history of philosophy.
Course contents summary
Title of the course: Language and knowledge. A short introduction to epistemology.
The main topic is propositional knowledge, i.e., knowledge of what can be expressed as the content of declarative sentences. Among the subtopics, the relation between truth, belief and knowledge, the value of knowledge, the celebrated Gettier argument, justification and rationality, sources of knowledge (perception, memory, testimony), skepticism, objectivity. Perception, particularly vision, will be selected for special attention. The representation of knowledge will also be central.
The first six weeks will be devoted to presenting and discussing the material in the handbook. Students who take 6 cfu only can attend this part only.
. Blackburn, Truth. A Guide for the Perplexed, Penguin, 2005.
K. DeRose (1995), “Solving the Skeptical Problem”, The Philosophical Review, 104, pp. 1-52.
F. Dretske (1971), “Conclusive Reasons”, Australasian Journal of Philosophy.
P. Engel, R. Rorty, A cosa serve la verità, Il Mulino, 2005.
P. Engel, Verità, Riflessioni su alcuni truismi, De Ferrari Editore, 2004.
E.L. Gettier, “Is Justified True Belief Knowledge?”, (tr. it. in M. Santambrogio, Manuale di scrittura (non creativa), Laterza, 2007).
A.I. Goldman (1967), “A Causal Theory of Knowing”, The Journal of Philosophy, 1967.
D. Marconi, Per la verità. Relativismo e filosofia, Einaudi 2007.
D. Pritchard (2008), “Sensitivity, Safety and Anti-Luck Epistemology”, in J. Greco (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Skepticism, Oxford University Press, pp. 437-455.
D. Pritchard, What is this thing called knowledge?, Routledge, 2006, 20102
G. Volpe, La verità, Carocci Editore, 2012.
The teacher will present and discuss in some detail the chosen textbook (Pritchard's) as well as some simple articles, mainly in English, which students are required to study for the exam. Students are also required to write some short essays.
Assessment methods and criteria
The written exam consists of a short essay, or answers to a set of questions. It will be followed by a viva.
Use will be made of software, such as that available at lea.unipr.it, to communicate with students. Besides asking questions to the instructor, students will also be able to discuss among them and also to present their own essays (towards the end of the course). Through the same channel, texts not in the list above will be made available.