Subject 161-010 (2009)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2009. Search for this in the current handbook

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 2 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2009:

Semester 2, - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: Thirty-two contact hours per semester: two 1-hour lectures per week for the first 11 weeks and a 1-hour tutorial per week beginning the third week of semester
Total Time Commitment: 3 contact hours/week, 5.5 additional hours/week. Total of 8.5 hours per week.
Prerequisites: At least one single-semester first-year philosophy subject, or permission from the Head of School or the subject coordinator.
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support: http://services.unimelb.edu.au/disability


Assoc Prof Howard Sankey


Assoc Prof Howard Sankey - chs@unimelb.edu.au

Subject Overview: This subject deals with two major topics in the theory of knowledge. We will consider such central epistemological questions as these. What is knowledge? Do we have knowledge? How do we know? What is the structure of knowledge? These questions will be explored by considering a number of traditional and contemporary approaches to epistemological issues, such as scepticism,empiricism, rationalism, naturalism, and reliabilism. Students should gain a sound understanding of the philosophical problems relating to knowledge, as well as the major approaches which have been proposed in response to these problems.
Objectives: Students who successfully complete this subject will
  • gain a sound general comprehension of the major recent advances in our philosophical understanding of the nature and structure of knowledge;
  • understand the roles of experience and reasoning in contributing to this structure;
  • display a familiarity with some major texts on which these advances are based;
  • indicate an awareness of how the subject matter is related to broader concerns in contemporary philosophy;
  • display acquaintance with some important past contributions to the discussion of those issues;
  • have the ability to explain in detail and critically discuss at least two important aspects of these recent advances.
Assessment: A 1500 word essay valued at 30% due about mid-semester, and a 2500 word essay valued at 70% due at the end of semester.
Prescribed Texts: Readings will be available on line.
Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • be able to understand both the heart of a philosophical issue and its broader implications;
  • have learnt to form a critical understanding of philosophical texts;
  • have developed their skills to construct rigorous philosophical arguments.
Notes: Previously available as Scepticism & Reason. Students who have completed Scepticism & Reason are not eligible to enrol in this subject.
Related Course(s): Diploma in Arts (Philosophy)
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: History & Philosophy of Science
History && Philosophy of Science Major
Logic and Philosophy of Science
Philosophy Major

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