Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Epistemology Course Readings

I've finished the reading list for my fall course on Theories of Knowledge. This is a survey course so it contains the following:
1) A little history
2) A taste of truth theories
3) A glance at Gettier problems
4) A jot of justification theories
5) A soupçon of skepticism
6) A healthy dose of naturalism
This is for a 10 week quarter, so we're riding the express train here.

I like these readings (and I guess I should, having chosen them) because they combine some of the usual suspects with work that deserves to be more widely anthologized but isn't: that is, work that I think is profoundly, importantly right yet falls outside the mainstream for one reason or another.

There's one book on the list: Michael Bishop and J.D. Trout's Epistemology and the Psychology of Human Judgment. I try to assign a recent book every time I teach this course, and this one fits in nicely with the other themes - besides being a great read, packed with interesting observations, and, even better, a book I'm largely in agreement with. I was also thinking about using Miriam Solomon's Social Empiricism, but it doesn't seem to be in paperback and MIT Press seemed to be remaindering the hardback edition - so I wasn't sure if it would be available.

One final gripe. I tried to find an epistemology textbook to use since that would have saved me a lot of time photocopying and uploading articles, and that turned out to be an exercise in frustration. And here's my complaint: there are entire anthologies, 500 pages long, without a single article by a woman. My reading list isn't exactly a model of diversity, either (though there are five women on it, which I think is pretty good in this area), but I can't bring myself to assign a textbook that's just a boy's club.

Well, without further ado, here's the reading list as it currently stands:

9/4 Introductory remarks
9/6 Descartes: Meditations on First Philosophy (on line)

9/11 Hume: An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding (on line)
Goodman: “The New Riddle of Induction” (on line)
9/13 Tarski: “Truth and Proof” (on line)

9/18 Misak: “Deflating Truth: Pragmatism vs. Disquotationalism” (on line)
9/20 Gettier: “Is Justified True Belief Knowledge?” (on line)
Fogelin: “Pyrrhonian Reflections on Knowledge and Justification” (on line)

9/25 Code: “Taking Subjectivity Into Account” (on line)
9/27 Goldman: “Discrimination and Perceptual Knowledge” (on line)

10/2 Price: “The Given” (on line)
Sellars: “Does Empirical Knowledge Have a Foundation?” (on line)
10/4 DeRose: “Contextualism: An Explanation and Defense” (on line)

10/9 Putnam: “Brains in a Vat” (on line)
10/11 Haslanger: “What Knowledge Is and What It Ought to Be” (on line)

10/16 Quine: “Epistemology Naturalized” (on line)
10/18 Rooney: “Putting Naturalized Epistemology to Work” (on line)

10/23 Weinberg et al.: “Normativity and Epistemic Intuitions” (on line)
10/25 Boyd & Trout: Epistemology and the Psychology of Human Judgment, chs. 1-2

10/30 Boyd & Trout: Epistemology and the Psychology of Human Judgment, chs. 3-5
11/1 Elgin: “The Epistemic Efficacy of Stupidity” (online)

11/6 Boyd & Trout: Epistemology and the Psychology of Human Judgment, chs. 6-8
11/8 Boyd & Trout: Epistemology and the Psychology of Human Judgment, chs. 9-10 + Appendix, §1, §3, §11