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Level 5

5AANA009 Epistemology II


Credit value: 15
Module tutor: Professor Clayton Littlejohn


  • Summative assessment: 1 x 2,500 word essay (100%) 
  • Formative assessment: 1 x 2,000 word essay


  • Summative assessment: 2 x 2000 word essays (50% each)
  • Formative assessment: 1 x 2,000 word essay

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.
: none

Epistemology II studies some 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

  • To impart a deeper grasp of the parts of contemporary epistemology most relevant to contemporary philosophy in general.

  • To encourage and enable reflection on the relation between philosophical and other kinds of inquiry.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module, the students will be able to demonstrate intellectual, transferable and practicable skills appropriate to a Level 5 module and in particular will be able to demonstrate:

  • Understanding of three main contemporary styles of anti-sceptical argument.

  • Understanding of inquiry considered as a purposive activity regulated by epistemic norms (evidence, reasons, etc.)

  • Understanding of the prospects and limitations of so-called externalist theories of justification in our understanding of epistemic normativity.

  • Understanding the nature of a priori justification and the role it plays in epistemic justification more generally. 

  • Understanding of some elements of confirmation theory, and of the Goodman Paradox and the Paradox of the Ravens.

Past syllabi

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


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 between years.

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