Syllabus: Classics Of Contemporary Analytic Epistemology

How To Reach Professor Keith Korcz:
My office is in the New Music Building, rm. 111. My office hours are MW 12:30-1:00 & 3:30-4:00 and TThF 2:10-3:10. We can also meet at other times by arrangement - just ask. My office phone no. is 278-3631. You can also contact me (or ask questions) by e-mail at:

Required Texts:
1. Course Pack
Joan will have one copy of this which you may borrow.

Assignments & Grading:
80% of your grade will be based on a term paper, and 20% on class participation. The paper is to be done in successive drafts, on a topic approved by the instructor. The paper topic should be such that, to be properly dealt with, it requires a paper 15-20 pages in length. The first part of the paper should be a critical discussion of a published article or a view we have discussed in class. The second part of the paper should consist of an original, positive contribution to one of the issues raised in the first part of the paper. You must show me at least two drafts of the paper (the first official draft is worth 20% of your course grade and the final draft is worth 60%)You must obtain approval for the topic you select no later than two weeks before the first draft is due. {I'm happy to grade additional drafts or parts of drafts of the paper. Additional drafts will not be counted against your course grade.}
The letter grades will be assigned according to the standard scale, i.e. 90-100% = A, 80-89% = B, 70-79% = C, 60-69% = D, 59% and below = E. Such factors as improvement over the length of the course, attendance, etc. may be taken into consideration, especially where doing so may improve a borderline grade. You must complete all course assignments (namely both drafts of the paper and at least three occasions of meaningful class participation) to receive a passing grade for the course (i.e. a grade other than E, U or NP).

Class Policies:
If you miss class, for whatever reason, it is your responsibility to get class notes from another student. Missed exams or other assignments can be made up only if an appropriate excuse, e.g., illness requiring medical attention, participation in certain official university events, etc., is provided. If you know in advance that you will miss an exam or due date for an assignment, please let me know beforehand.


(NOTE: All readings are in the course pack.)

I. The Motivation For And Methods Of Epistemology
A. The Problem Of Skepticism
"The Problem of Knowledge" by John L. Pollock
B. The Method For Discovering An Answer: Conceptual Analysis
"Philosophy and Knowledge" by A. J. Ayer
"Epistemology and Philosophical Analysis" by Matthias Steup

II. Perceptual Knowledge
"Appearance And Reality" and "The Existence Of Matter" by Bertrand Russell, "The Status Of Appearances" by Roderick Chisholm, "Cognitive Influences On Perception" by Ralph Baergen.

III. The Concept Of Justification
"Concepts of Epistemic Justification" by William Alston
A. Some Deontological Accounts Of Justification
B. Doxastic Voluntarism

IV. The Structure Of Justification
A. Foundationalism
1. The Regress Argument
"Two Types Of Foundationalism" by William Alston
2. Infallibilism
"The Bases Of Empirical Knowledge" by C. I. Lewis
"Lewis On The Given" by Roderick Firth, "Empiricism And The Philosophy Of Mind" by Wilfrid Sellars and "Epistemic Supervenience And The Circle Of Belief" by James Van Cleve
3. Fallibilism
"Has Foundationalism Been Refuted?" by William Alston
B. Coherentism
1. Linear Coherentism
2. Holistic Coherentism
"The Explanatory Coherence Theory" and "Internal Coherence And Personal Justification" by Keith Lehrer and "Coherentism" by Matthias Steup
C. The Basing Relation
"Recent Work on the Basing Relation" and "The Causal-Doxastic Theory of the Basing Relation" by Keith Allen Korcz

V. The Conceptual Analysis Of Knowledge
A. Belief
B. Truth
C. The Gettier Problem
1. The Problem
"Is Justified True Belief Knowledge?" by Edmund Gettier
2. Some Proposed Solutions:
a. No Reasoning Through A False Premise
"An Alleged Defect In Gettier Counterexamples" by Richard Feldman
b. Reliabilist Theories Of Knowledge
"Discrimination and Perceptual Knowledge" by Alvin Goldman, "Reliability & Justification" by Richard Feldman, "Justification & Truth" by Stewart Cohen, "Externalist Versions of Foundationalism" by Laurence Bonjour
c. Defeasibility Theories
"Knowledge: Undefeated Justified True Belief" by Keith Lehrer & Thomas Paxson
D. Knowledge, Skepticism And Closure
"Skeptical Possibilities" by Robert Nozick

VI. Internalism Vs. Externalism: A Middle Ground?
"Internalism and Externalism in Epistemology" by William Alston
A. Internalist Theories Of Justification
B. Externalist Theories Of Justification
C. Combined Theories
"Strong and Weak Justification" by Alvin Goldman, "An Internalist Externalism" by William Alston and "Alston's Internalistic Externalism" by Marshall Swain