BA Philosophy / Course details

Year of entry: 2023

Course unit details:
Issues in Epistemology

Course unit fact file
Unit code PHIL30331
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by School of Social Sciences
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


The course will deal in detail with some and touch on all of the following topics: the definition of knowledge; the problem of scepticism; foundationalism and coherentism; the concept of justification; traditional vs. naturalised epistemology; epistemic internalism and externalism; epistemic contextualism; modal epistemology.


Pre-requisites: 40 PHIL credits at Level 2


The course aims to:

- provide students with a detailed understanding of some of the issues and disputes that make up contemporary epistemology

- to help students come to terms with some of the central texts in the field

- encourage students to think through the issues raised for themselves and arrive at well-argued conclusions

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this course unit, students will be able to demonstrate:

- a critical understanding of some of the disputes that make up contemporary epistemology

- a thorough knowledge of some of the central texts in the field

- an informed opinion about how to answer (or not to) the problems discussed

- an ability to write concisely, relevantly and analytically about the issues raised, both in an essay and under exam conditions

Teaching and learning methods

There will be a mixture of lectures and tutorials.

Please note the information in scheduled activity hours are only a guidance and may change.

Employability skills

Analytical skills
Group/team working
Oral communication
Problem solving
Written communication

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 67%
Written assignment (inc essay) 33%

Feedback methods

The School of Social Sciences (SoSS) is committed to providing timely and appropriate feedback to students on their academic progress and achievement, thereby enabling students to reflect on their progress and plan their academic and skills development effectively. Students are reminded that feedback is necessarily responsive: only when a student has done a certain amount of work and approaches us with it at the appropriate fora is it possible for us to feed back on the student’s work. The main form of feedback on this course is feedback on your assessed essays, in the form of in-text comments and a general feedback report, both available through Blackboard. Feedback on the first essay will be available well before the deadline for the second essay, so that you have the opportunity to put any suggestions for improvement into practice.

We also draw your attention to the variety of generic forms of feedback available to you on this as on all SoSS courses. These include: meeting the lecturer during their office hours; e-mailing them questions; asking questions during and before/after lectures and tutorials; and obtaining feedback on your ideas from your peers and lecturer during tutorials.

Recommended reading

A. Morton, A Guide through the Theory of Knowledge, Oxford: Blackwell, 3rd ed. 2003, or R. Audi, Epistemology, A Contemporary Introduction, London: Routledge, 1998.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 20
Tutorials 10
Independent study hours
Independent study 170

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Christopher Daly Unit coordinator

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