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Module descriptions

7AAN2007 Epistemology


Credit value: 20
Module tutor: Dr Clayton Littlejohn


  • Summative assessment: one two-hour exam (100%)
  • Formative assessment: two 1,500–2,000-word essays


  • Summative assessment: one two-hour exam (100%)
  • Formative assessment: two 1,500–2,000-word essays

Students are reassessed in the failed elements of assessment and by the same methods as the first attempt.

Teaching pattern: one one-hour weekly lecture and one one-hour weekly seminar over ten weeks. 
Pre-requisites: none
Sample syllabus: 7AAN2007 module syllabus 2016-17

This module covers some of the central issues in contemporary theory of knowledge. Possible topics include the foundationalism-coherentism debate, naturalized epistemology and the possibility of a priori justification, externalist conceptions of justification, closure principles, epistemic value, the relationship between partial belief and full belief, the nature and role of evidence, sources of knowledge, and the epistemic significance of disagreement.

Further information

Module aims

The Epistemology module aims to bring students to a critical understanding of some of the central problems in the theory of knowledge, via a close reading and discussion of some of the key recent texts in this area. Students taking this course will acquire a good sense of the nature and range of the subject-matter of epistemology itself, and its relation to other philosophical areas. Students will acquire an appreciation of how the problems under discussion are motivated and generated, by examining particular claims concerning the nature, source and extent of human knowledge.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module, the students will be able to demonstrate intellectual, transferable and practicable skills appropriate to a level-7 module and in particular will be able to demonstrate that they have:

  • An ability to read closely and gain an understanding of relevant texts
  • An ability to summarize arguments and positions
  • An ability to support and to challenge views and positions, by constructing arguments and citing relevant considerations
  • The formation of philosophical views of their own, which they are prepared to defend or amend in the light of criticism
Past syllabi

7AAN2007 module syllabus 2012-13 (pdf)
7AAN2007 module syllabus 2013-14 (pdf)
7AAN2007 module syllabus 2015-16 (pdf)

Please note that module syllabus and topics covered may vary from year to year. 

More detailed information on the current year’s module (including the syllabus for that year) can be accessed on KEATS by all students and staff. 

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The modules run in each academic year are subject to change in line with staff availability and student demand so there is no guarantee every module will run. Module descriptions and information may vary depending between years.

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