Student Pages
Postgraduate course

Research Topic in Epistemology

Main content

ECTS Credits

10 SP

Level of Study


Teaching semester

Spring in odd years

Place of Instruction


Objectives and Content

The course tries to formulate, clarify and answer the fundamental and most general questions about knowledge, for example: What is knowledge? What does it mean to justify an assertion? What are the main theories of justification? Is global skepticism something we should be worried about? What is it to claim that some statements are necessary while others only contingent? Is there a priori knowledge? There is flexibility in how to build the course; it can be organized either as a survey of several philosophical positions, or it can focus on one or two themes, such as relativism, contextualism, invariantism, skepticism, epistemic modals, virtue epistemology, value of knowledge, the epistemology of understanding, social epistemology, formal epistemology, rationality, or pragmatismĀ . FIL347 will provide students with an in-depth understanding of important basic concepts, arguments and positions in epistemology. The main emphasis is on topics in contemporary philosophy, but it will often be appropriate to discuss philosophical works and positions of historical relevance. After completing the course, the students should be able to evaluate the central theories and problems within epistemology, and see the relevance of these in other contexts. The course will provide the basis for further studies in philosophy at the bachelor level.

Learning Outcomes


After completing the course, the student should have

  • good knowledge of important basic concepts, arguments and positions in epistemology.


After completing the course, the student should be able to

  • identify strengths and weaknesses at different positions in epistemology.
  • identify relevant arguments and principles in epistemology (for example, 'The closure principle').


After completing the course, the student should be competent to

  • read epistemological articles and books on an relatively aloud academic level
  • study epistemology further, e.g., at Master's level. The course can be included in the Bachelor with specialization in philosophy. In combination with other subject and subjects may be part of the education that qualifies for teaching philosophy in Elementary or Upper Secondary School. The course may be suitable to support specialization in fundamental questions in connection with the study of other subjects.

Required Previous Knowledge

Bachelor degree with 90 credits specializing in philosophy or equivalent.

Recommended Previous Knowledge

A good proficiency in English is necessary since it ought to be assumed that much of the prescribed reading will be in English.

Credit Reduction due to Course Overlap

FIL347 overlaps 10 credits with FIL247 (Epistemology).

Access to the Course

A condition for entry into this course is having been accepted for the Masters programme in philosophy.

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching is offered in the form of lectures and/or seminars.

Supervision of term paper: supervision is a voluntary offer and can occur individually or in groups.

The number of gatherings may be reduced if the number of students attending the course is less than 4. In that case, the students will be compensated with individual or group tutoring.

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

An approval of compulsory requirements is valid for three semesters, including the semester in which the approval is given.

Submission of a short assignment at 900-1200 words. The topic is given by the teacher. Deadline is set by the department. The assignment must be approved to be able to take the exam.

Passing grade in end-of-course test

Forms of Assessment

A semester assignment paper of 4000 - 6000 words (not including table of contents, list of references etc.) The topic of the paper must be approved in advance by the teacher of the course. The semester assignment paper will be assessed at the end of the semester.

Exams in the course are held every semester.

Examination Support Material

Not relevant

Grading Scale

From A to F

Assessment Semester


Exams in the course are held every semester.

The compulsory activities have to be formally approved before one can take an exam in the course.

Reading List

There is a fixed reading list which the student, in cooperation with the teacher, is supposed to supply with additional reading.

Course Evaluation

The teaching will be evaluated from time to time.

Programme Committee

Undervisningsutvalget for fagstudiet i filosofi

Course Coordinator

Undervisningsutvalget for fagstudiet i filosofi

Course Administrator

Department of Philosophy


Exam information

  • Type of assessment: Supervised paper

    Submission deadline
    19.05.2021, 13:00
    Withdrawal deadline
    Examination system
    Digital exam