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180232 SE Epistemic Justification (2010W)

6.00 ECTS (2.00 SWS), SPL 18 - Philosophie
Prüfungsimmanente Lehrveranstaltung



max. 45 Teilnehmer*innen
Sprache: Englisch


Termine (iCal) - nächster Termin ist mit N markiert

Mittwoch 06.10. 15:00 - 17:00 Seminarraum 3A NIG 3.Stock
Mittwoch 13.10. 15:00 - 17:00 Seminarraum 3A NIG 3.Stock
Mittwoch 20.10. 15:00 - 17:00 Seminarraum 3A NIG 3.Stock
Mittwoch 27.10. 15:00 - 17:00 Seminarraum 3A NIG 3.Stock
Mittwoch 03.11. 15:00 - 17:00 Seminarraum 3A NIG 3.Stock
Mittwoch 10.11. 15:00 - 17:00 Seminarraum 3A NIG 3.Stock
Mittwoch 17.11. 15:00 - 17:00 Seminarraum 3A NIG 3.Stock
Mittwoch 24.11. 15:00 - 17:00 Seminarraum 3A NIG 3.Stock
Mittwoch 01.12. 15:00 - 17:00 Seminarraum 3A NIG 3.Stock
Mittwoch 15.12. 15:00 - 17:00 Seminarraum 3A NIG 3.Stock
Mittwoch 12.01. 15:00 - 17:00 Seminarraum 3A NIG 3.Stock
Mittwoch 19.01. 15:00 - 17:00 Seminarraum 3A NIG 3.Stock
Mittwoch 26.01. 15:00 - 17:00 Seminarraum 3A NIG 3.Stock


Ziele, Inhalte und Methode der Lehrveranstaltung

We are very free and easy with talk of justification in everyday life. We judge each other's emotions: 'Your anger with me was unjustified'; we judge each other's actions: 'Given what he knew of her he was justified in not giving her money again'; we judge each other's beliefs: 'How can you believe this of me? It is completely unjustified.' Although we daily swap justification-judgements with ease, the philosophical analysis of the notion of justification is far from easy. The concern of this course is with epistemic justification - with what makes beliefs justified. Two questions loom large in modern epistemology:
(1) What sorts of things can justify an individual belief? There are three options. Roughly:
(a) Only things internal to us - our other beliefs, our perceptions - can justify our beliefs (Internalism).
(b) What justifies a belief are the (impersonal) mechanisms which produced it (Externalism).
(c) Analyse justification in more ethical terms, e.g., beliefs are justified when formed out of the exercise of epistemic virtues (Virtue epistemology).
(2) How does one's whole belief system come to be justified? Again three options. Again roughly:
(a) There are certain foundational beliefs - perceptual, a priori - which ground the rest of one's beliefs without themselves requiring the kind of justification which ordinary beliefs do (Foundationalism).
(b) Beliefs come in a network, the members of which mutually support each other. There is no need for foundations and there are no beliefs with a privileged justifying status (Coherentism).
(c) Some beliefs can support each other, some require foundational beliefs (Foundherentism).
The two debates are connected: if you think (1a) that individual beliefs are justified by internal things such as other beliefs, the question becomes what justifies these other beliefs. A regress is launched and only an account of (2) can stop it. The aim of the course is to explore these debates and the connections between them.

Art der Leistungskontrolle und erlaubte Hilfsmittel

(1) Regular attendance;
(2) Active participation in discussions;
(3) One presentation;
(4) Two 10-page essays on a pre-set topic. Deadline 30 April. Marks will be deducted if deadline not met.

Mindestanforderungen und Beurteilungsmaßstab

Detailed critical understanding of: (1) the concepts and questions at stake in these debates; (2) the connections between the debates; (3) their relation to other basic epistemology debates, e.g., scepticism and knowledge.


This course takes the seminar format - we discuss the prescribed paper. Attendance of each seminar, active engagement in the discussion, as well as at least one presentation are obligatory.


Primary Readings: see 'Programme' above.

Secondary Readings
Alston, William P. (1985) 'Concepts of Epistemic Justification' The Monist, 68, 57-89, reprinted in Moser & vander Nat (1995).
___ (1986) 'Internalism and Externalism in Epistemology' Philosophical Topics, 14, reprinted in Kornblith (2001).
___ (2005) Beyond Justification (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press).
BonJour, Laurence (2002) Epistemology: Classic Problems and Contemporary Responses. (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield).
Dancy, Jonathan (1985) Introduction to Contemporary Epistemology (Oxford: Blackwell).
Greco, John and Sosa, Ernest (eds)(1999) The Blackwell Guide to Epistemology (Oxford: Blackwell).
Fairweather, Abrol & Zagzebski, Linda (eds) (2001) Virtue Epistemology: Essays on Epistemic Virtue and Responsibility (New York: Oxford University Press).
Kornblith, Hilary (ed) (2001) Epistemology: Internalism and Externalism (Oxford: Blackwell).
Sosa, Ernest (1991) Knowledge in Perspective: Selected Essays in Epistemology (Cambridge: CUPress).
Steup, Matthias and Sosa, Ernest (eds) (2005) Contemporary Debates in Epistemology (Malden, MA: Blackwell).
Swinburne, Richard (2001) Epistemic Justification (Oxford: Oxford University Press).

Zuordnung im Vorlesungsverzeichnis

MA M 1, § 4.2.3, § 2.5

Letzte Änderung: Mo 07.09.2020 15:36