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Principles of Applied Epistemology (APPLIED EPISTEMOLOGY)
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Chad


In: Ramsbottom
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I think it's taken for granted, around these parts, that 'Justified True Belief' does not equate to knowledge.
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Mick Harper
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In: London
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'appen. But down here, where it does, we are more likely to ask why this dude is breezily referring to someone that nobody reading his proposal could possibly have heard of. And we'd say it is standard technique to

a) impute inadequacy in the reader
b) promise to address that inadequacy
c) thereby permitting the reader to impute inadequacy in others

It is not important whether Gettier is worth knowing about. I wouldn't know, I've never heard of him.
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Mick Harper
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• Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy, meditations 1–3
• Russell, Problems of Philosophy, chapters 1 and 2
• Gettier, “Is Justified True Belief Knowledge?” and Zagzebski, “The Inescapability of Gettier Problems”


'appen.
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Mick Harper
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4.2 Social Epistemology: Epistemic Dependence, Independence, and Interdependence
In this part of the course, we will examine whether we must rely on others, and how we might need to. This means looking at, among other things, testimony, disagreement, and group belief and knowledge.

As I understand the American way of going about things, this represents a single credit for the poor old undergraduate, so it must be disheartening to hear 'this part of the course' followed by 'among other things'. Let us hope the recommended reading list for this part of the course won't be too arduous

• Twelve Angry Men (film)
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Mick Harper
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• Plato, Apology
• Hume, “Of Miracles”
• Fricker, “Testimony and Epistemic Autonomy” (two classes)
• Owens, “Testimony and Assertion”
• Lackey, “Knowledge and Credit”
• Feldman, “Reasonable Religious Disagreements”
• Kelly, “The Epistemic Significance of Disagreement”
• Enoch, “Not Just a Truthometer" (two classes)
• Gilbert, “Collective Epistemology”
• Pettit, “Groups with Minds of Their Own”

I am assuming a roughly thirteen-week course with thirteen meetings, where each bullet point represents a week.
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Mick Harper
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In: London
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Please Note: The second semester field trip to England to see the Applied Epistemology Library at work has been suspended sine die because of Covid restrictions
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Mick Harper
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4.3 The Epistemology of Democracy
In this part of the course we will examine how citizens in a democracy ought to reason with one another, and what the epistemic foundations of democracy even are.

How very American. The classically-trained British would take a very Spartan attitude to this. We ourselves, I think, would be puzzled as to what democracy has got to do with anything whatsoever but then we are democratically-trained so perhaps we ought.

• Rawls, Political Liberalism (selections) (two classes)
• Ebels–Duggan, “The Beginning of Community: Politics in the Face of Disagreement”
• Estlund, Democratic Authority (selections) (two classes)
• Anderson, “The Epistemology of Democracy”

Another six weeks gone and still the nitty-gritty is nowhere in sight.
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Mick Harper
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5 Epistemic Justice and Injustice
So far we have focused on how individuals and groups can improve their beliefs and deliberation, sometimes with practical goals in mind. But now we will focus on how we can wrong, and avoiding wronging, one another with how we form our beliefs.

Surely more of the same. How many weeks for this?

• Fricker, Epistemic Injustice (selections)
• Dotson, “Accumulating Epistemic Power: A Problem with Epistemology”
• Basu, “What We Epistemically Owe to Each Other”
• Fricker, “Can There Be Institutional Virtues?”
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Mick Harper
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6 Assignments
Class participation is worth a fixed 15%, and attendance is mandatory.

I found this fascinating in two contexts. My own experience of university is that attendance is not mandatory and I never heard anyone participate in class ever. But in the AE context I would not award marks for either -- how to judge who's a loudmouth and who's asleep.

Beyond that, there are three possibilities. Each will be worth 55% of the rest of the grade.
1. You and another student might decide you are or will be most interested in one particular topic. Then you may both write a 5–7 page paper, followed by a 3–5 page reply to your friend’s paper in which you raise the strongest objections you can, followed by a 3–5 page response to your friends objections.

I was once given a London Transport oral exam with another candidate on some quite technical matters of train control and station operation. I answered every question correctly, the other bloke got every one wrong. Our examiner said, "Well, you two seem a bit unsure of yourselves, you'd better come back tomorrow."

2. You may write four small papers (3–5 pages) on an issue raised in each section.

Make sure what you write accords precisely (but in your own words) with what you heard. More than half the entire exercise is resting on getting this right.

3. Finally, you may pick a social topic that we did not discuss and apply tools from epistemology to discuss it. The paper should be around 15 pages.

Ooh, that's the one I'd make a beeline for. Unless...

Please talk to me and get my approval before you start on this option!

... there was a caveat ending with an exclamation mark.

The final exam will be worth 30% of the grade and will ask short essay questions about all the material from the class.

Let's assume I was the greatest Applied Epistemologist the world had ever seen. How would I do? Native cunning would get me a passmark. As it did throughout my university career. It's wasted on the young.
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Ishmael


In: Toronto
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Mick Harper wrote:

3. Finally, you may pick a social topic that we did not discuss and apply tools from epistemology to discuss it. The paper should be around 15 pages.

Ooh, that's the one I'd make a beeline for.


I would have done the same.
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Mick Harper
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7 Odds and Ends
Regarding plagiarism and other sorts of academic dishonesty, [insert the university’s academic dishonest policy here].

At least he's admitting it's a dishonest policy.

This class will require respectful participation; in discussion, you will be expected to respond politely to one another and engage one another’s points in an open and intellectually honest way.

This dude truly believes he understands what intellectual honesty is and thinks his students will too.

Any sort of insulting or demeaning language will not be tolerated.

What, even when used as a rhetorical device?

You will also be expected to pay attention. For some, that means not using laptops, and for others it doesn’t. Because I don’t want to single anyone out either way, I will rely on your self-knowledge to know which class you’re in, and to not distract anyone else in class with them.

Ban 'em, sunshine. Or make 'em compulsory. Crack the whip, this is your class not theirs. As for them paying attention, well that is down to you.

And please do come to me with any questions or concerns you have at any point, either by email or by office hours!

It's that exclamation mark again. So what did we learn? He only reached the parts other philosophy courses reach. Theory, theory, theory. Epistemology wasn't applied after all. Nothing about how knowledge is used in the real world except for some political stuff which you just know will be a bunch of liberals sitting around saying how dreadful non-liberals are. Kinda depressing, kinda not.
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