Type of instruction






Recommended in

Semester 1

Typically offered in

Autumn semester

Course description

The course offers an introduction to the epistemological tradition in Western philosophy. In addition to some historical investigations introducing central epistemological problems and some of the most essential approaches, the main focus of the course is on more recent advances in 20th century philosophy, with special emphasis on theories of scientific cognition as the paragon of knowledge acquisition.

The course includes a series of lectures and a reading seminar.

The main topics of the course are the followings:

1. Epistemological problems in the history of philosophy

  • Plato’s Epistemology, Aristotle on Knowledge, Ancient Scepticism
  • The Epistemology of Descartes, Locke, Berkeley, and Hume. The Problem of Induction
  • Kant and Kantian Epistemology. A Priori Justification and Knowledge
  • Dialectics: Hegel and Marx.
  • Logical Empiricism on Epistemological Problems
  • Wittgenstein on Knowledge
  • American Pragmatism: Fallibilism and Cognitive Progress
  • Quine, Goldman and Two Ways of Naturalizing Epistemology
  • Gettier’s Problems. Is Justified True Belief Knowledge?
  • Hermeneutic and Phenomenological Epistemologies
  • Approaches to Social Epistemology

2. Recent problems of epistemology

  • Perception, Memory, Consciousness, Introspection, and Self-consciousness
  • Reason and Rational Reflection, Testimony
  • Inference and Knowledge
  • Internalism and Externalism, Justification and Truth
  • Evidence, Pragmatics, and Justification
  • Knowledge and Justification
  • Normativity, Epistemic Intuitions, Natural Knowledge
  • Interpretations, Epistemic Cultures
  • Contextualism and Skepticism
  • Epistemology and Cognition

Learning outcome, competences knowledge:

  • knows the most important expressions and phenomena of epistemological tradition in Western philosophy


  • is sensitive to and interested in noticing epistemological phenomenas and problems


  • creative thinking

Evaluation of outcomes
Learning requirements, mode of evaluation, criteria of evaluation:


  • active participation
  • reading of scholarly articles

mode of evaluation: examination and practical course mark


General literature

Audi, R. (1998). Epistemology. A contemporary introduction to the theory of knowledge. London, New York: Routledge.
Hetherington, S. (Ed.) (2012). Epistemology: The Key Thinkers. London, New York: Continuum.
BonJour, L. (2010). Epistemology. Classic Problems and Contemporary Responses. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield.
Fetzer, J. H. (Ed.) (1990). Epistemology and cognition. Dordrecht : Kluwer.
Radnitzky, G., & Bartley, III, W. W. (Eds.) (1987). Evolutionary Epistemology, Rationality, and the Sociology of Knowledge. Illinois: Open Court.
Alcoff, L. M. (Ed.) (1998). Epistemology: the Big Questions. Oxford: Blackwell.
Moser, P. K. (Ed.) (2002). The Oxford Handbook of Epistemology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Haddock, A., Millar, A., & Pritchard, D. (Eds.) (2010). Social Epistemology. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

Required seminar readings:

  • Extracts from René Descartes: Meditations on first philosophy. (original: Descartes, R. (1641). Meditationes de prima philosophia, in qua Dei existentia et animæ immortalitas demonstratur.)
  • Extracts from David Hume: An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding. (original: Hume, D. (1748). An enquiry concerning human understanding.)
  • Extracts from Immanuel Kant: The Critique of Pure Reason. (original: Kant, I. (1781). Kritik der reinen Vernunft.)
  • Moritz Schlick: On the foundation of knowledge (original: Schlick, M. (1934). Über das fundament der erkenntnis. Erkenntnis, 4(1), 79-99.)
  • Popper, K. (1965). Three views concerning human knowledge. In K. Popper. Conjectures and Refutations: The Growth of Scientific Knowledge (pp. 97-119). London: Routledge.
  • Quine, W. (2004). Epistemology Naturalized. In E. Sosa & J. Kim. Epistemology: An Anthology. Malden (pp. 292-300). MA: Blackwell Publishing.
  • Polanyi, M. (1966). The logic of tacit inference. Philosophy, 41(155), 1-18.
  • Hardwig, J. (1985). Epistemic dependence. The Journal of philosophy, 335-349.
  • Haraway, D. (1988). Situated knowledges: The science question in feminism and the privilege of partial perspective. Feminist studies, 575-599.