Philosophy | Topics in Theory of Knowledge
P312 | 3594 | Kaplan


It is over three hundred and fifty years since Descartes wrote his
Meditations.  Yet such is his influence that a theorist of knowledge
cannot write today without having to define her position in terms of
the extent to which it agrees and differs with Descartes'.  The aim
of this course will be to (i) appreciate the way in which Descartes
has set the agenda for current research in the theory of knowledge,
(ii) assess the state of current research in the light of its
Cartesian ancestry and (iii) look beyond current research to ask what
future there is for the theory of knowledge.

We will focus primarily on three topics: (1) the dream argument for
the claim that we don't know what we think we know about the world
around us (readings from Descartes, Stroud, Moore, Nozick, Lewis,
DeRose and Austin); (2) the dispute as to what, if any, foundations
there are to our claims to knowledge (readings from Descartes,
Chisholm, Bonjour, Austin); (3) the charge that the theory of
knowledge is mired in an unfortunate bog of circularity (readings
from Descartes, Van Cleve, Quine, Kim).

It will turn out that how we end up making our threefold assessment
of what Descartes did then, of what our contemporaries are doing now,
of what is worth doing in the future  will depend on just what sort
of enterprise we take philosophy to be.

Texts:
E Sosa J Kim EPISTEMOLOGY: AN ANTHOLOGY, Blackwell
Descartes, SELECTED PHILOSOPHICAL WRITINGS (Cambridge)