Virtue Epistemology

Course Description: 

The course addresses the main issues in virtue epistemology. First, its general place within the framework of epistemology, and the historical motivation for new approaches in epistemology, the virtue one included, namely the Gettier problem and its challenge to extant characterization of knowledge. Second, it presents the framework of virtue epistemology, the division of virtues, and the issue of the precise role of virtue in epistemology. Then it passes to one very important virtue, the desire to know or curiosity. Several approaches to it are presented, from both historical and topical perspective: the critical approaches that deny any philosophical importance to it, the moderately favorite ones that see it as an important virtue amongst many, and a maximalist approach that sees it as the central motivating virtue, mobilizing and organizing all others. The various options are then applied to three areas of knowledge acquisition: social knowledge acquisition, scientific effort and the effort to achieve self-knowledge.

 

Learning Outcomes: 

The student will get information about the state of art discussions in epistemology. She will also learn about a variety of epistemology which is closely related to moral philosophy, virtue being the common topic, so this might help the student to unify her final view of philosophy. Next, she will learn, and probably start or continue reflecting on the central and traditional kind of knowledge, self-knowledge, prominent since Socrates. If she is interested in science she will find the topic of the role of curiosity in science interesting and motivating.

 

Assessment: 

There will be assessment of the work in seminar, of the written materials, and the final exam. Good presentations and/or written papers can be developed into publishable material (we did this in previous years, and it worked very well).

Percentages:

work in seminar, including presentation 25 %

written paper 25 %

final exam 50 %