This Course is Expired

Theory of Knowledge

In this online course students will cover the key issues in epistemology while also learning to think for themselves and develop their own answers to the core questions in this area.
University of Oxford University Offices Wellington Square Oxford ,OX1 2JD United Kingdom
(4418) 65270000

Course at a Glance

Mode of learning : Online - Instructor Lead(LVC)

Domain / Subject : General/Others

Function : General

Starts on : 22nd Sep 2014

Duration : 10 Weeks

Difficulty : Advanced

About the course

The theory of knowledge is one of the most central areas of philosophy. In this online course students will cover the key questions in the theory of knowledge, such as: 

  • What is knowledge? 
  • Why is knowledge valuable to us?
  • What are the sources of knowledge?
  • Do we really have any knowledge?

In examining these questions students will also learn to think for themselves in a clear and critical fashion - that is, they will learn to think philosophically. In so doing they will develop their own answers to the core questions in this area.

Course Aim

  • introduce students to the main themes in the theory of knowledge, such as the problem of scepticism, the various debates regarding how best to understand what knowledge is, and the key issues regarding the sources of knowledge; 
  • like all philosophy courses, it also aims to help participants to think clearly and critically.

Course Objectives

  • introduce students to philosophy, and to the critical skills that are involved in doing philosophy;
  • guide students through the central topics in the theory of knowledge;
  • enable students to gain a thorough grounding in the key debates in this central area of philosophy.

Assessment methods

Assessment for this course is based on two written assignments - one short assignment due half way through the course and one longer assignment due at the end of the course. Students will have about two weeks to complete each assignment.


This course is accredited and you are expected to take the course for credit. To be awarded credit you must complete written contributions satisfactorily. Successful students will receive credit, awarded by the Board of Studies of Oxford University Department for Continuing Education. The award will take the form of 5 units of transferable credit at FHEQ level 4 of the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS). A transcript detailing the credit will be issued to successful students. Assignments are not graded but are marked either pass or fail

Teaching methods

  • Guided reading of texts.
  • Group discussions of particular issues.
  • Questions to be answered in personal folders.
  • Debating from positions given rather than from personal belief (to hone skills of debate).?

Teaching outcomes

  • think philosophically 
  • describe the main issues in the theory of knowledge covered by the course 
  • describe the main distinctions and ideas that these issues trade upon 
  • constructively criticise the various philosophical positions that you have explored
  • develop a position of your own on the key topics covered

Course eligibility

Course Requirements

This course is delivered online; to participate you must to be familiar with using a computer for purposes such as sending email and searching the Internet. You will also need regular access to the Internet and a computer meeting our recommended minimum computer specification.

Recommended reading

To participate in the course you will need to have regular access to the Internet and you will need to buy the following paperback book:

  • Pritchard, D. H., What is This Thing Called Knowledge? (Routledge, London, 2006) ISBN 0415387981
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Course Content

The areas you will cover in this course are:

  • The Value of Knowledge
  • What is Knowledge?
  • Agrippa’s Trilemma
  • Rationality and Justification
  • Epistemic Virtue
  • The Sources of Knowledge I: Perception
  • The Sources of Knowledge II: Testimony and Memory
  • The Sources of Knowledge III: Deduction and Induction
  • Radical Scepticism
  • Truth and Objectivity


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