Phil 15: Knowledge and its Limits

Summer session 2, 2016 • University of California, San Diego

Instructor: Jason Winning      Lecture place/time: WLH 2113, MW 2–4:50 pm
Email:      Office hours place/time: HSS 7059, TBA
Section A01 Meeting place/time:      WLH 2113, MW 12–12:50 pm
Section A02 Meeting place/time:      WLH 2113, MW 1–1:50 pm
Final place/time:      WLH 2111, Friday, 9/2/16, 3–5:50

Course Description

This course will introduce students to one of the core topics of philosophy: the theory of knowledge, otherwise known as epistemology.

Required Texts

The book An Introduction to the Theory of Knowledge, by Noah Lemos, is the only required book. There is also a recommended book available at the bookstore: The Outer Limits of Reason: What Science, Mathematics, and Logic Cannot Tell Us, by Noson Yanofsky. All readings which are not in the Lemos book will be made available electronically on TritonEd.

Course Mechanics

Lectures and Discussion: I lecture with slides. The slides will be used to focus discussion and organize complex material; they are not a substitute for the readings. The slides will be made available on TritonEd a few days after lecture. Students are expected to take careful notes and will be held responsible for the material discussed in class not found on the slides or in the readings.

Reading Assignments: Students are required to read each selection prior to class. You should take notes while reading, keeping track of questions or issues that arise. You should bring both the reading and the notes/questions to class.


To receive participation credit, you are required to (on a regular basis) come to lecture with at least one question prepared, based on the readings listed for that lecture, and ask your question at some point during class.

All three exams will include a mixture of multiple choice, fill-in-the-blank, questions calling for a paragraph-length answer, and questions calling for a 1–2 page answer. Exam 1 will cover lectures 1, 2, and 3. Exam 2 will cover lectures 4, 5, and 6. The final exam will be comprehensive, but will be concentrated more heavily on lectures 7–10.

If the student performs better on exam 1 than on exam 2, then exam 1 will count for 30% of the final grade, and exam 2 20%. Otherwise, exam 1 will count for 20% of the final grade, and exam 2 30%.

Course Policies

Discussion Sections:Discussion sections attendance is optional. You will be expected to participate in class during the lectures. The participation grade will be drawn primarily from your participation during the lectures (see above for details).

Academic Integrity: All suspicions of academic misconduct will be reported to the Academic Integrity Office according to university policy. Academic misconduct is not just blatant cheating (e.g., copying off another student during an exam), but includes copying other students’ essays; copying or using old essays; forgetting to cite material you took from an outside resource; turning in work completed in total or in part by another. This is an incomplete list; if you have questions concerning academic misconduct it is your responsibility to ask me for advice.

Tentative Reading Schedule (subject to change)