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COURSE NUMBER: PHIL 322
COURSE TITLE: Epistemology
NAME OF INSTRUCTOR: Dr Jeffrey Dudiak
CREDIT WEIGHT AND WEEKLY TIME DISTRIBUTION: credits 3 (hrs lect 3 - hrs sem 0 - hrs lab 0)
COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course is an introduction to the theory of knowledge. Detailed examination is made of the concepts of justification, truth and belief. Particular attention is paid to the significance of philosophical skepticism for epistemology. Issues concerning the relativity and objectivity of knowledge, as well as debates about realism and anti-realism are also examined. Emphasis is placed on recent philosophical reflection on these issues, but students are also introduced to classical positions.

Prerequisites: PHIL 230
REQUIRED TEXTS:
  • Westphal, Merold, Whose Community? Which Interpretation?, Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2009.
  • Smith, James K. A., The Fall of Interpretation, Grand Rapids: Baker, 2012.
MARK DISTRIBUTION IN PERCENT:
Presented interpretation10%
Term paper/analysis25%
Midterm exam 120%
Final Exam20%
Class participation10%
Weekly questions15%
100%
COURSE OBJECTIVES:In this course we will undertake an extended reflection on the generation of knowledge through interpretation (taking “hermeneutics” as the Continentalist version of epistemology), across a careful reading of one contemporary Christian philosophical figure, Jamie Smith, and a more general introduction to the field (Westphal’s text).  Our goals will be to:
  1. develop strategies for effectively reading “texts” of different kinds
  2. learn and critically engage the basic tenets of philosophical hermeneutics
  3. develop a philosophical vocabulary in the area of epistemology
  4. meaningfully reflect upon the development of meaning, and its significance for our lives and faith
COURSE OUTLINE: Working through Westphal (about 4-5 weeks), and then Smith, at a pace that allows for care in reading and genuine thought


Required texts, assignments, and grade distributions may vary from one offering of this course to the next. Please consult the course instructor for up to date details.

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