PHIL 180: Knowledge and Understanding syllabus (Spring 2013)
We follow the text closely and cover appx. one chapter of this text in 3 meetings, with time allowed for extended discussion of supplemental material. Attend class to see what exactly is required for each subsequent meeting.
- Ch. 1: Epistemology: A First Look
- Ch. 2: Explaining Knowledge
- Ch. 3: Belief
- Ch. 4: Truth
- Ch. 5: Justification and Beyond
- Ch. 6: Sources of Knowledge
- Ch. 7: Rationality
- Ch. 8: Skepticism
- Ch. 9: Epistemology and Explanation
PHIL 180. Knowledge and Understanding. Examines the concept of knowledge. Representative topics include: the role of sense perception and memory, the importance of certainty, the justification of belief, philosophical skepticism, the concept of truth and the nature of philosophical inquiry. Emphasis is on contemporary formulations. This is an upper-level seminar course, so if you are not interested in discussing the nature of belief, truth, knowledge, and judgment, then you should take another course, seriously. Each class meeting and possible quiz presumes that you have read the material assigned for that day.
Prerequisite: 6 units in philosophy or instructor permission. 3 units.
- The Theory of Knowledge: A Thematic Introduction (1998) by Paul K. Moser, Dwayne H. Mulder, J.D. Trout, appx. $45 (required)
- Thinking, Fast and Slow (2011), by Daniel Kahneman, appx. $12 at Amazon.com (optional)
- additional readings to be posted in SacCT
Assignments, Grades and Attendance
- THREE in-class unannounced short-answer
quizzes based upon assigned readings (12 pts. each), and TWO research papers, (24 pts. each). 84 points total
- There will be no special treatment. No one can take any quiz after it has closed. There is no extra work or credit offered and students cannot re-take or make-up any assignment, absolutely, no exceptions. There isn't time for this and it is unfair to treat people differently. There are plenty of points available so that one can miss a quiz and still do well in the course. Attendance is not part of your grade, I do not penalize people for non-attendance, so excuses are unnecessary. See the FAQ sections 1 and 3 for a fuller rationale.
- Students may NOT use phones, laptops, electronic tablets, or recording devices during
class meetings. They are unnecessary distractions and disrupt
the class. Why? Here is
my argument. Each use or disruption of class costs you a 5 point deduction from your total points, e.g. phone use or rude behavior.
- Please keep track of your own grades via SacCT - I don't
do grade checks, since you can do it for yourself. I never discuss quizzes or grades via email, you must visit me in my office. If you want to review any quiz with me, you may do so only after it is closed and only in my office, where we can review it together.
- How do I evaluate individual scores? For each graded effort you will receive a numerical
corresponds to a letter-grade. Scores correspond
to letter-grades NOT percentages. See the FAQ section 3 for the number to letter-grade conversion scale I use when grading individual efforts
- When and where is the final for this course? There is no final exam, only the last research paper, which will be due during finals week, I will announce the specific deadline in class.
- How do I determine your overall course grade? There are 84 total points available. I add all
points earned, divide this
total by 6, then assign the letter-grade based on my grade-scale, see the FAQ, section 3. For instance, if one earns a total of 47 points, divide this
by 6, the result is a 7.83 which corresponds to a C+ on my letter-grade
scale. Thus, one receives a C+ for the course. Since rounding introduces
error, I will not round scores up or down.
- Overall course grade
= total points earned (minus penalties) divided by 6, then apply my letter-grade scale.
- DEFINE basic theoretical terms used in the course,
- DISTINGUISH various philosophical concepts, scientific theories and theoretical positions,
- ENGAGE in cogent and respectful discussion about philosophical issues raised
- ANALYZE specific scientific arguments and explanations for consistency and credibility,
- APPLY theories to philosophical and scientific problems in professional
and personal life.
If you have a disability and require accommodations, you need to provide
me with your offical documentation from SSWD, which is in Lassen Hall 1008, (916) 278-6955. Please discuss accommodation needs with
me ASAP during my office hours or by appt. early in the semester so that we may make a plan to help you out.
Review all academic responsibilities, definitions, sanctions and rights