Knowledge is all around us, and we generally think we know many things about the world. For example, you may think that you know your name. Or you may think that you know the earth has existed for many years before you came into it. You know about the existence of countries you have never been to. But do you really know these things, or do you only believe them because you have accepted them as fact? Even in the case of our most firm and certain beliefs, couldn’t it turn out that we’re just badly mistaken? This course will attempt to answer these questions by probing established philosophical thought and subjecting it to heavy scrutiny.
Along the way we will look closely at the major philosophers who have influenced our study of knowledge, subjecting their thoughts and ideas to critical analysis of our own. Not only will you learn about philosophers and their various schools of thought, but you will also be exposed to the philosophical method, and how philosophers go about attempting to answer questions such as those above. A study of Knowledge and Reality is a core element of many philosophy, classics, and other humanities degrees. This course is therefore an ideal stepping stone for anyone thinking of applying to study one of these subjects at university, showing that you have the ability to think critically about some of the most fundamental questions of our existence.
During this course, students will be able to…
By the end of this course, students will be able to…
This tutorial will explore the thought of Descartes. Descartes was the first prominent philosopher to question whether we can truly know anything. He decided that he could not just accept everything that he had been told as fact. This tutorial will explore the arguments and thought of Descartes before testing whether his hypotheses stand up to philosophical scrutiny.
This tutorial will scrutinise Descartes’ arguments in further detail by advancing four main counterarguments in response to his hypotheses.
This tutorial will discuss the fact that many philosophers have argued that we should abandon the project of trying to prove that the world exists. According to these philosophers, we should try to justify our beliefs not by an appeal to the external world, but by an appeal to their internal coherence. That idea is called coherentism and will be the subject of this tutorial.
This tutorial will explore two final philosophical theories. Relevant Alternatives Theory, propounded most famously by Fred Dretske, attempts to define reality and belief through discounting other theories, whilst Contextualism argues that knowledge is entirely dependent on context.
|Course Pre-requisites||Advanced level of EnglishAn interest and enthusiasm for critical thinking and philosophical thought!|
|Course Level||For students thinking of applying for philosophy-related subjects at university|
|Prior Knowledge||No prior knowledge is required to take this course, just enthusiasm for the subject.|
|Workload||4-6 hours (further independent study is encouraged)|