PHILOSOPHY 220: EPISTEMOLOGY
COURSE INFORMATION
S05
Instructor: Dr. Henry J. Folse, Jr.                                                                             Office: Bobet 414
Office Hours: Tues. & Thurs. 3:30-4:30; or by appointment                                      Office Phone: 865-3940

Objectives of Course: More than any other branch of philosophy, epistemology -the theory of
knowledge- can be understood as a single unbroken "conversation" among philosophers from the
Ancient Greeks up to the present. Our goal is to trace the course of this discussion as philosophers
have tried to formulate an acceptable account of the criteria for and methods of attaining
knowledge. We will begin with the classical definition of knowledge as "justified true belief" as
elaborated by the founders of the Western tradition, Plato and Aristotle. We will then trace the
development of foundationalistic epistemology through the Enlightenment debate between
rationalists and empiricists, culminating in the critical philosophy of Immanuel Kant. For the
second half of the semester we will turn to contemporary issues in epistemology, analyzing the
pragmatists' attempt to overcome foundationalism, the analytic discussions concerning the nature of
epistemic justification, and the fate of the contemporary project to "naturalize" epistemology into
some form of "cognitive science".

Prerequisites: There are no absolute prerequisites in this course, but is strongly advised that
students have had at least one introductory course in philosophy before taking this course. This is
NOT a common curriculum course and will NOT count as credit towards the student's common
curriculum requirement in philosophy. This course satisfies a requirement in the systematic
sequence for philosophy majors.

Texts: The Following are available at the University Bookstore:

Paul K. Moser and Arnold van der Nat, eds. Human Knowledge: Classical and
Contemporary Approaches, Third Edition (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003).
[designated on syllabus: "M & vN"]

Additionally, students should purchase the following at the Philosophy Department Office (Bobet
442):
Folse, Henry J., Notes on Traditional Western Foundationalist Theories of Knowledge,
2002.

NOTE: The following information should answer all your questions concerning attendance,
assignments, grading, and exams. You may assume all of the policies stated on this sheet are in
effect unless otherwise notified. Students are responsible for familiarizing themselves with these
requirements. You may assume that your assignments are as indicated on the accompanying
syllabus unless otherwise notified. After the first week of the semester, the instructor will NOT
answer questions concerning matters covered on this hand-out.

Class Attendance: In order to do satisfactory work in this class it is imperative to attend class on a
regular basis; however, attendance will not enter directly into computation of the final grade.
Failure to attend class, or regular tardy attendance, will inevitably weaken the student's chances for
performing well on exams, and thereby affect the final grade. Roll will be called only for the first
few weeks of the semester to familiarize the instructor with the students. If you do have a good
reason for missing class (e.g. serious illness), it is your responsibility to consult with the instructor
to see to it that you know what was covered during the class you missed. It is expected that
students will attend class punctually, however, if unforeseen circumstances make you late for class,
you should still come late; half a class is better than no class at all.

Arriving and Departing Class: Students are expected to be in the classroom at the beginning of
each class. If you are late due to some serious reason, you should still come to class, but you must
enter the class quietly without disturbing your fellow students or the Instructor. If you must depart
class prior to the end of the period, due to some emergency or unavoidable scheduling conflict, do
so quietly and without disturbing the class. Once a student has departed, returning to the class is
not permitted. In particular, students will not be permitted to depart casually and then return
to class after a "break." It is expected that students will attend class punctually, however, if
unforeseen circumstances make you late for class, you should still come late; half a class is better
than no class at all.

Study Assignments: Each class will cover a specific study assignment posted on the course
website, or in the required books. They are given on the accompanying syllabus together with the
topic for that day's class. Failure to study carefully each day's assignment BEFORE coming to
class will result in an inadequate comprehension of the material covered in that class. Carried to
prolonged periods, failure to keep up with the assignments will reduce you to irremediable
perplexity. DO NOT FALL BEHIND IN YOUR ASSIGNMENTS! If you fail to understand the
material after careful study, come to class prepared with specific questions. If you miss class or
fail to understand the material after the Instructor has gone over it in class, then you should consult
the Instructor as soon as possible during office hours, or if that is not possible, by special
appointment.

Class Discussion: This course will consist mostly of lectures intermixed with question and answer
exchanges between instructor and students. However, you should feel free to ask question any time
perplexity strikes. The instructor cannot read the students' minds; other than your questions he has
no way of knowing how well or poorly you understand the material being covered. DO NOT
KEEP QUIET ABOUT WHAT YOU DO NOT UNDERSTAND - ASK QUESTIONS WHEN
THE PARTICULAR PROBLEM YOU DO NOT UNDERSTAND IS BEING DISCUSSED IN
CLASS. Students who wait until exam time to inform the instructor of their lack of understanding,
will have a poor chance of success.

In-Semester Quizzes: On the dates specified with an asterisk (*) on the accompanying syllabus
the class period will end with a ~25-30 minute quiz covering the material studied since the previous
quiz. Quizzes will be multiple choice, approximately 25 questions each. Students will return
answers on a single sheet of paper. There will be six quizzes in the semester. Each will be graded
on a scale of 25 points; with only the best four counting in the final calculation of the grade. The
best four quizzes will count for 20% of the semester grade.

Take-Home Examinations: There will be three take-home exams to be turned in on the dates
specified on the accompanying syllabus. These exams will cover Parts I, II, and III of the course as
indicated on the accompanying syllabus. Each exam will consist of five essay questions, and will
cover only that portion of the course that it immediately follows. You must answer at least two
(recommended: three) from each exam, such that your total number of essays, including those on
the final exam, equals TEN ESSAYS by the date of the final exam. You will have at least one
week from the distribution of each exam to the date to turn in essays. It is expected that essays will
be typed by word-processor, and conform to the canons of good English style, as well as exhibiting
sound grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Lack of access to computers or last minute crashes are
not acceptable excuses for failure to turn in assignments; save your files frequently. Consult with
the Writing Across the Curriculum Lab or Academic Computing Services for availability of
machines and programs well before the assignment is due. Each essay will account for 8% of the
student's grade.

Final Exam: The take-home final will be distributed in the last class to be turned in on the date
specified by the University: Friday, May 11, by 5:00 p.m.in the instructor's office, Bobet 414. The
final will consist of essay questions analogous to the questions on the three in-semester exams,
except that they will expect the student to refer back to the course of epistemology which we have
followed throughout the semester. Your total number of essays for the whole semester must equal
ten. If you have turned in three essays for each of the in-semester exams, you may have the
attractive bonus of having to turn in only one essay on the final.

Grading: A: 100-90 B+: 89-87 B: 86-80 C+: 79-77 C: 76-70 D+: 69-67 D: 66-60 F: 59-0