General epistemology

lfilo1190  2017-2018  Louvain-la-Neuve

General epistemology
3 credits
30.0 h
Guay Alexandre;
Main themes

- The processes of thinking (conception, judgment, reasoning etc.).
- The obstacles to knowledge (doubt, error, contradiction etc.) and means of overcoming them.
- The fundamental notions and concepts as well as the main trends in the theory of knowledge.

At the end of this learning unit, the student is able to :


By the end of this course, students will have acquired the basic concepts from the main theories of knowledge in the philosophical tradition. They will be able to understand how discourse can claim to be truthful, from a logical and critical perspective. They will understand the multiplicity of answers to the question « What can I know » and its implications.


The contribution of this Teaching Unit to the development and command of the skills and learning outcomes of the programme(s) can be accessed at the end of this sheet, in the section entitled “Programmes/courses offering this Teaching Unit”.
This course is an introduction to epistemology. We will discuss, using different perspectives, the three fundamental questions of epistemology: What is knowledge? How can we know? What can we know? In other words, what is the nature of knowledge, what are its modes and limits. Epistemological theories are based on errors and cognitive wanderings. By examining errors we will introduce classical theories of knowledge: realism and idealism, empiricism and rationalism, foundationalism, coherentism, internalism and externalism, and the nature of truth. This insistence on errors will allow us to map cognitive faculties by focusing on perceptual illusions, categorical errors, the role of subjectivity in the justification of knowledge and finally on sophisms.
Teaching methods
This introductive course will be mostly based on traditional lessons. The main method will be the systematic comparison between approaches and positions. Because of the diversity of authors and approaches studied, the students will prepare lessons by carefully reading the suggested materials. Participation during discussions in class will also be essential.
Evaluation methods
The evaluation consists of two elements: a personal essay on a text chosen from a list (50% of the final grade) and a written exam (50%).
During the second session, the evaluation consists of the same elements.
Other information
Aids : course notes, documents on iCampus
Une bibliographie et des extraits de textes seront fournis aux étudiants via le site web du cours.
Faculty or entity

Programmes / formations proposant cette unité d'enseignement (UE)

Title of the programme
Bachelor in Philosophy

Minor in Philosophy