Mind and language
Learning outcomes of the course unit
1-Knowledge and understanding
The course introduces some the main themes of epistemologyh and the role it plays in different philosophical traditions. This allows the students to grasp the logical space in which the debate is situated as well as the state of the contemporary debate on the topic.
2-Applying Knowledge and understanding
Through a close analysis of arguments proposed by classical philosophers students acquire techniques necessary for formulating and criticizing an argument. In addition, they sharpen their conceptual tools to engage in the debate.
3-4- Making judgments, communication skills
Students are encouraged to participate actively in discussion in class, which should train them to weigh arguments, arrive at defending a specific position and formulate arguments in favor of it.
Great emphasis will be put on reading skills: students will be trained to recognize philosophical arguments and come up with a rational reconstruction which highlights the impact of the respective argument for the debate. In short, they acquire techniques necessary for studying other topics and doing philosophy autonomously.
Course contents summary
The course provides an introduction into the theory of knowledge. In the first part we will discuss the definition of "knowledge", the relation between knowledge and language, and the major positions in epistemology. In the second part we will focus on the contemporary debate in epistemology.
Students who are particularly interested in the second part of the course are invited to read:
From the book _Teorie della conoscenza: Il dibattito contemporaneo_:
• Clotilde Calabi e Andrea Sereni: "Introduzione" (pp. 15-35)
• Edmund Gettier: "La credenza vera giustificata è conoscenza?" (pp. 37-40)
• Ernest Sosa: "Un'epistemologia delle virtù" (pp. 59-76)
• Giorgo Volpe: "Introduzione" (pp. 133-150)
• Alvin I. Goldman: "Che cos'è una credenza giustificata?" (pp. 185-211)
• Laurence BonJour: "Le teorie esterniste della conoscenza empirica" (pp. 213-253).
More indications regarding the extended program can be found at the course web-site: http://elly.dusic.unipr.it/2017/course/view.php?id=101
• "Che cos'è la conoscenza", di Tommaso Piazza, Roma: Carocci, 2017.
• Platone, Teeteto (selezione)
• Sesto Empirico: Schizzi pirrhoniani (selezione)
• Cartesio: Meditazioni metafisiche I e II
• David Hume: Ricerca sull'intelletto umano, sezioni 2-5
• Otto Neurath: Proposizioni protocollari
Students who are not able to be present at the course will prepare the same textbook. In order to assist students who cannot assist the lectures, slides and audio-registrations of the lectures are provided at the course-site on elly.unipr.it. Students who cannot assist the lectures are cordially invited to contact the professor or come to see him during office hours in order to discuss topics related to the course or the exam modalities.
Lectures and discussion in class. Moreover, there will be meetings ("ora di approfondimento") that allow to discuss and further develop the topics discussed in class. These meetings will be scheduled in the later afternoon in order to invite working students who cannot participate in the lectures. The participation is not obligatory.
Assessment methods and criteria
The exam consists of a written part with short questions, and, a few days later, an oral part with more general questions. Each part weighs 50% of the final grade.
The grades range from 18 (minimum) to 30 e lode. The criteria for the assignment of the grade are:
30 e lode: excellent, profound knowledge, excellent expressive capacities, complete comprehension of the relevant concepts and arguments
30: very good, complete and adequate knowledge, good discursive capacities with respect to the topic of the course.
27-29: good, an acceptable degree of knowledge, acceptable discursive capacities with respect to the topic of the course.
24-26: mediocre level of knowledge, though incomplete and not not always correct.
21-23: basic, though superficial knowledge. Inadequate discursive competences with respect to the topic of the course.
Below 18: insufficient. Very imcomplete knowledge, presentation unclear, incomplete comprehension of the basic concepts and arguments.