Research Topic in Epistemology

Postgraduate course

Course description

Objectives and Content

The course gives students an in-depth discussion of debates and questions about knowledge, for example: Is there a definition of knowledge that is immune to the Gettier counterexample? What are the benefits and challenges of a virtue epistemological approach? How can others' testimonies justify our interpretations? Is there a priori knowledge? The course is flexible: it can discuss some philosophical positions, or it can be focused on one or two topics, e.g. relativism, contextualism, skepticism, invariantism, epistemic modalities, virtue epistemology, the value of knowledge, the understanding of epistemology, social epistemology, formal epistemology, rationality, or pragmatism.

The main emphasis is on themes in contemporary philosophy, but it may be relevant to take as a starting point philosophical works and positions from older times. After completing the course, students should be able to assess and convey key theories and issues within epistemology, and see the relevance of these in other contexts. The course will provide a basis for further studies in philosophy at masters level.

Learning Outcomes


After completing the course, the student should have:

  • specialized knowledge of important basic concepts, arguments and positions in one or more research areas in epistemology


After completing the course, the student should be able to:

  • identify, analyze and convey key issues, positions and arguments in one or more research areas in epistemology
  • develop own ideas for debate contributions in one or more research areas in epistemology


After completing the course, the student should be competent to do:

  • further studies and own research
  • further studies in epistemology, e.g. in a master's thesis

The course can be part of a master's degree with specialization in philosophy. In combination with other subjects and subjects, it can be part of an education that qualifies for teaching philosophy in upper secondary school or high school.

The course can also be suitable as support for in-depth study of basic questions in connection with the study of other subjects.

ECTS Credits

10 SP

Level of Study


Semester of Instruction

Spring in odd years

Place of Instruction

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.html">FIL247 (Epistemology).
Access to the Course
This course is open to students who have been admitted to the Master's programme in philosophy. All other students must apply. Please contact to apply.
Teaching and learning methods

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

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.

  • Students must submit a proposal and draft of their semester assignment. Deadlines are set by the department.
  • Students must attend a supervision session with the instructor.
  • 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.

Assessment in a semester without teaching follows the syllabus the previous semester the course had teaching.

Grading Scale
From A to F
Assessment 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.
Examination Support Material
Not relevant
Programme Committee
Undervisningsutvalget for fagstudiet i filosofi
Course Coordinator
Undervisningsutvalget for fagstudiet i filosofi
Course Administrator
Department of Philosophy