This section is about the theory of knowledge (epistemology). Almost every course in epistemology in the Anglo-American Philosophical tradition contains a discussion on Gettier cases and the trouble they are supposed to make for the view that knowledge is justified, true belief. And almost every course in Philosophy contains a component in Epistemology.
‘Epistemology & Metaphysics’ is one of the themes covered in Unit 3 PHIL 3 Key themes in Philosophy. The curriculum specifies that the following should be covered:
‘Knowledge: the tripartite definition of knowledge; ‘internalist’ and ‘externalist’ theories of justification; Gettier-type objections to the tripartite definition and responses to Gettier, for example indefeasibility, whether beliefs are appropriately caused, whether they track the truth. Whether such approaches and responses are successful.’
This section of The Philosophy Resource explicitly addresses all these issues in a way that (a) is comprehensible and easy to follow and (b) will stretch students’ and teachers’ understanding on these matters.
Epistemology is a foundational discipline, and as such figures prominently in all other areas of philosophy. In particular, however, the material covered in this section will also be useful in tackling the theme “Knowledge of the External World” within Unit 2 PHIL2 An Introduction to Philosophy 2; and the texts: Plato’s Republic, Hume’s Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, Descartes’ Meditations in Unit 4 PHIL4 Philosophical Problems.
Theme 1: The Grounds of Epistemology
This figures as an optional theme in both the Higher Level syllabus and the Standard Level syllabus. The material in this section of The Philosophy Resource is directly relevant to the following topics suggested as topics for study in ‘The Grounds of Epistemology’ in the IB syllabus: ‘Opinion, belief, knowledge’; ‘Theories of justification’; ‘Access to Knowledge’.