Sample Courses


This course covers some of the most exciting and important debates in contemporary epistemology, including discussions about the nature and value of knowledge, intellectualism and anti-intellectualism, our epistemic goals and the nature of epistemic responsibility, testimony and disagreement, and the methods of analytic epistemology. Our goal will be to gain a better understanding of these issues and to begin to formulate our own positions and arguments on these topics.

Knowledge: Zagzebski, The inescapability of Gettier problems; Williamson, A state of mind • Knowledge and Credit: Greco, Knowledge as credit for true belief; Lackey, Why we don’t deserve credit for everything we know • The Value of Knowledge: Kaplan, It’s not what you know that counts; Riggs, Reliability and the value of knowledge • Belief: Gendler, Alief and belief; Cohen, Belief and acceptance • Knowing How: Stanley & Williamson, Knowing how; Hawley, Success and knowledge-how • Contextualism and Salience: DeRose, Contextualism and knowledge attribution; Nagel, Knowledge ascriptions and the psychological consequences of thinking about error • Invariantism and Stakes: Fantl & McGrath, Evidence, pragmatics, and justification; Nagel, Knowledge ascriptions and the psychological consequences of changing stakes • Epistemic Goals: Riggs, Balancing our epistemic goals; Grimm, Epistemic goals and epistemic values • Epistemic Responsibility: Code, Towards a “responsibilist” epistemology; Kornblith: Justified belief and epistemically responsible action • Testimony: Lackey, Testimonial knowledge and transmission; Elgin, Take it from me • Disagreement: Kelly, The epistemic significance of disagreement; McGrath, Moral disagreement and moral expertise • The Methods of Analytic Epistemology: Bealer, Intuition and the autonomy of philosophy; Stich, Reflective equilibrium, analytic epistemology, and the problem of cognitive diversity; Kornblith, The role of intuition in philosophical inquiry; Nagel, Intuitions and experiments

Epistemology of Disagreement

This course is designed to blend philosophical discussions of disagreement with work form the history and philosophy of science and the social and cognitive sciences. The result will be a careful examination of the philosophical, sociological, and psychological factors that contribute to disagreement – one that will allow us to better understand the epistemological significance of intellectual disagreement, including not only what we should do when we disagree, but also what disagreement can do for us.

Controversy: Kornblith, Belief in the face of controversy • Equal Weight View: Elga, Reflection and disagreement; Moss, Scoring rules and epistemic compromise • Steadfast View: Kelly, The epistemic significance of disagreement; Elgin, Persistent disagreement • Justificationist View: Lackey, A justificationist view of disagreement’s epistemic significance; Lackey, What should we do when we disagree? • Disagreement and Higher-Order Evidence: Christensen, Higher-order evidence; Roush, Second-guessing: A self-help manual • Uniqueness: White, Epistemic Permissiveness; Ballantyne & Coffman, Uniqueness, evidence and rationality • Disagreement and Expertise: Goldman, Experts: Which ones should you trust?; McGrath: Moral disagreement and moral expertise • Cognitive Diversity and Competition: Kitcher, Selections from The Advancement of Science; Okruhlik, Gender and the biological sciences • Cognitive Diversity, Error, and Assumption: Longino, Selections from Science as Social Knowledge; Matz & Wood, Cognitive dissonance in groups • Cognitive Diversity & Motivation: Kunda, The case for motivated reasoning; Ditto & Lopez, Motivated skepticism • Conflict and Productivity: Friend & Ludlow, Disagreement and deference; Schulz-Hardt et al., Productive conflict in group decision making • Deliberation and Reflection: Peter, The procedural epistemic value of deliberation; Kornblith, What reflective endorsement cannot do • Keeping an Open Mind: Doris & Nichols, Broadminded; Riggs, Openmindedness