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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences : Philosophy

Postgraduate Course: Ancient Theories of Knowledge MSc (PHIL11173)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryAncient epistemology contains in a nutshell the full range of modern epistemological positions and therefore is an ideal vantage point to get a good grasp of the main concepts and problems of epistemology.

Shared with UG Course - Ancient Theories of Knowledge PHIL10168.

For courses co-taught with undergraduate students and with no remaining undergraduate spaces left, a maximum of 8 MSc students can join the course. Priority will be given to MSc students who wish to take the course for credit on a first come first served basis after matriculation.
Course description In this course, we shall look at some of the most important ancient epistemological theories: the earliest attempts of demarcation between knowledge and belief in the Presocratic theories, the critical discussion of the three attempts at defining knowledge (as sense perception, true belief, and justified true belief) in Plato's Theaetetus. We shall devote a class to Aristotle's account of the principles of scientific demonstration, where we'll discuss the epistemological import of Aristotle's theory of scientific knowledge. In the last part of the course, we shall look at the most interesting epistemological discussions of Hellenistic period: Epicurus' version of strong empiricism, Stoic epistemological foundationalism, Academic criticism of the Stoic theories of 'cognitive impression' and Stoic responses. We shall also discuss ancient medical epistemology, particularly the epistemological views of the ancient medical school of Empiricism. We'll finish by scrutinising the position and arguments of Pyrrhonean sceptics.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. demonstrate knowledge of the core problems and positions in epistemology on the basis of ancient epistemological debates
  2. demonstrate knowledge of the main schools of ancient classical and Hellenistic philosophical schools and ideas
  3. demonstrate analytical and writing skills, ability to understand and critically assess philosophical theories, and develop arguments in support of own views
  4. demonstrate exegetical skills, ability to understand and critically evaluate different interpretations of ancient arguments
  5. demonstrate research skills, ability to work with ancient texts and scholarly literature
Reading List
R. McKirahan (ed) Philosophy Before Socrates, Berkeley, 1994
Plato, Meno
Aristotle, Posterior Analytics
B.C. Inwood, L.P. Gerson (eds), Hellenistic Philosophy: Introductory Readings, Indianapolis: Hackett, 1988
A.A. Long, D.N. Sedley (eds), The Hellenistic philosophers, 2 vols, Cambridge, 1987
Ch. Brittain (ed), Cicero, On Academic Scepticism, Indianapolis, Hackett, 2005
M. Frede, R. Walzer (eds) Galen: Three Treatises on the Nature of Science, Hackett, 1985
J. Annas, J. Barnes (eds) Sextus Empiricus, The Outlines of Scepticism, Cambridge, 2001.

Further details on LEARN
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills - Reading, understanding and critical analysis of complex texts
- Exegetical skills, ability to understand and interpret
- Ability to articulate, defend, and critically discuss positions in debate
- Interdisciplinary thinking
- Critical thinking
- Analysis and evaluation of theories and complex theoretical concepts
- Working to deadline
- Presentation and discussion skills
Additional Class Delivery Information The course will be taught by Dr Inna Kupreeva.
Course organiserDr Inna Kupreeva
Tel: (0131 6)50 3653
Course secretaryMs Becky Verdon
Tel: (0131 6)50 3860
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