Skip to Content

Knowledge and its Limits - PHL256

How do we know the way the world really is? How far can we trust our own senses and our reason? What justifies our claims to knowledge? This unit introduces central philosophical problems in epistemology, or the theory of knowledge. We examine the traditional conception of knowledge as justified true belief, and focus in particular on the concept of justification: What sort of justification do our true beliefs require to count as knowledge rather than mere opinion? We also study the challenge of the sceptic who denies that our knowledge claims are justified. The sceptic asks: How do we know that we are not dreaming our experiences? How do we know that we are not living in a Matrix-like world? We will consider how to respond to such sceptical challenges. We will also examine how some of these traditional problems are being reconceived in recent work in epistemology. We will end by applying some of the theories and ideas we have examined to a challenging contemporary problem: How should we respond to conspiracy theories?

Credit Points: 3
When Offered:

S1 Day - Session 1, North Ryde, Day

S1 External - Session 1, External (On-campus dates: None)

Staff Contact(s): Dr Jennifer Duke-Yonge

(12cp at 100 level or above) or admission to GDipArts Prerequisite Information


NCCW(s): PHIL256
Unit Designation(s):


Unit Type:
Assessed As: Graded
Offered By:

Department of Philosophy

Faculty of Arts

Course structures, including unit offerings, are subject to change.
Need help? Ask us.