2018 - 2019

  Dangers to Knowledge: Everyday Skepticism  
David KovacsGilman-humanities362Mon1600-2000 Sem  2
University credit hours:  4.0

Course description

Classic skeptical arguments describe scenarios which, though serious, are somewhat removed from our everyday concerns and therefore look like distant possibilities: evil demons, life-long dreaming, brains in the vat, and so on. By contrast, contemporary philosophers have been raising skeptical concerns on the basis of situations that actually obtain and which threaten our knowledge here and now. In this class, we will survey a number of these modern-wave skeptical concerns, including evolutionary debunking arguments against our ethical beliefs, causal “access” arguments against numbers, perceptual debunking arguments against ordinary objects and their properties, and arguments from expert disagreement against a number of other things. We will also cover the relation between the modern and the classic skeptical arguments, as well as the implications of modern skeptical arguments for the limits of philosophical knowledge.

Pre-requisites: any class in metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of language, or history of philosophy classes relevant to these (e.g. Early Modern or Kant). If in doubt, consult me.

Assessment: a final paper

Grade components: 65% final paper, 35% class attendance participation.

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tel aviv university