This course will use four methods of assessment, each of which will count towards the final grade:
1. Participation in a group presentation: 10%.
2. Weekly discussion points: 10%.
3. Two mini-essays (4-5 pages, with 1.5 spacing): 30%.
4. An essay on a topic from the course (15-20 pages, with 1.5 spacing): 50%.
To pass the course, it is necessary to satisfy all four components (i.e. submit all the work and participate in a presentation) and achieve 50% or more overall.
The group presentation will not be assessed; participation in a presentation is sufficient to get full marks for this component. I will meet with students prior to class to discuss their presentations.
The weekly discussion points are personal reflections on the text. Students should write down two points for each text. Each point should be accompanied by a justification. For instance, students shouldn't say 'I think the author is wrong'. They should say 'I think the author is wrong that ... because ...'. The discussion points will be marked in terms of whether they provide justifications.
The mini-essays will be written and submitted during the course. They should be focused on a single argument or view discussed in a text they have read. A good essay (i.e. one that gets a 2) will give an accurate summary of that argument or view. An excellent essay (i.e. one that gets a 1) will also critically discuss that argument or view in an intelligent way. I will provide constructive feedback on each essay.
The longer essay will be written at the end of the course. It could focus on a particular text, draw connections between different texts, or discuss a general issue raised by the texts we have read. A good essay will demonstrate a sound understanding of the relevant material and place it in its broader context. An excellent essay will also demonstrate an ability to develop a sustained line of independent thought.
While I will provide a list of possible topics for both the mini-essays and the longer essay, students will be encouraged to suggest their own topics. I am happy to supervise bachelor theses; just come and talk to me during the course.
Here is a provisional reading list. This is subject to change.
The Epistemology of Testimony
Elizabeth Fricker: Against Gullibility
Peter Graham: Liberal Fundamentalism and its Rivals
Alvin Goldman: Experts: Which Ones Should You Trust?
Deborah Tollefsen: Group Testimony
The Epistemology of Disagreement
Richard Feldman: Reasonable Religious Disagreements
Roger White: You Just Believe that Because...
The Epistemology of Ignorance
Charles Mills: White Ignorance
Linda Martin Alcoff: Epistemologies of Ignorance: Three Types
Miranda Fricker: Selections from her book 'Epistemic Injustice'
Kristie Dotson: Tracking Epistemic Violence, Tracking Practices of Silencing
Alessandra Tanesini: 'Calm down dear': intellectual arrogance, silencing and ignorance