“How do you know that?” An Overview of what Philosophers mean when they say we know something

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Date of event or class - Mon 21 May

Tutor/Facilitator Elvira Edmond

Frequency 1st & 3rd Mondays

Mary Kehoe Centre, Room 1

Other information

We will be looking at philosophers (mainly philosophers of old) and how they have addressed the problem of knowledge.

First we will consider Plato’s Meno, where Plato examines the idea that knowledge is recollection. Plato’s contrast between knowledge and belief will be discussed and we make a brief excursus into the depths of Plato’s Cave (1-2 lecture/seminars).

The second philosopher is Rene Descartes. We look at the First Meditation and part of the Second Meditation in Meditations on First Philosophy. This includes excerpts from the Objections and Replies, and will take up to 3 lecture/seminars to study.

Next, the idea that knowledge is justified true belief is discussed with its own, now classical Gettier Objection, using the philosophical tool of “counterexamples”. “Counterexamples” and “possible world” examples are examined (1-2 lecture/seminars in all) and an alternative “coherentist” view of knowledge championed by W V O Quine explained.

This makes it a course of some 7, possibly 8, lecture/seminars.

TUTOR: Elvira has been teaching/tutoring /taking seminars in Philosophy at the University of Melbourne for many years. She has Philosophy, Psychology and teaching qualifications/degrees.

Recommended reading for Monday 30th April: Gettier cases in Epistemology.  This can be downloaded from the Internet Encyclopaedia of Philosophy at  http://www.iep.utm.edu/gettier/