Nico Silins




Course Description



This seminar will survey recent work on knowledge and the verb “to know”. 

The focus will be on the relation of knowledge to mental states and the evidence a subject possesses, as well as on roles knowledge might play in psychological explanation, assertion, and practical reasoning.  We will also evaluate classic contextualism in epistemology and recent alternatives to the view.

In the last two sessions of the course, the focus will switch to issues concerning the acquisition of justification through inference.  I’ll present work in progress concerning epistemological objections to theories of content, and dogmatism in the theory of perceptual justification.



Reading List



September 9. Introductory Session


• Sessions 2-6: Knowledge and Its Limits


September 16. Knowledge and the Mental


Williamson, chapter 1, chapter 2 (sections 1-3 only)




            Jackson, "Critical Notice of Knowledge and its Limits"

DeRose, "Review of Knowledge and its Limits"

Unger, Ignorance, chapter 4


September 23. Knowledge, the Mental, and Action


Williamson, chapter 2 (section 4 only), chapter 3




            Jackson, "Critical Notice of Knowledge and Its Limits"

Kaplan, "Who Cares What You Know?"

Yablo, "Causal Relevance"

Magnus and Cohen, "Williamson on Knowledge and Psychological Explanation"

Kvanvig, The Value of Knowledge and the Pursuit of Understanding, chapter 1

Wedgwood, "Internalism Explained"


September 30. Skepticism and Access to Evidence


Williamson, chapter 4 (sections 1-3 only), chapter 8




Brueckner and Oreste Fiocco, "Williamson's Anti-Luminosity Argument"

DeRose, "Review of Knowledge and its Limits"

Neta and Rohrbaugh, "Luminosity and the Safety of Knowledge"

Conee, "The Comforts of Home"

Comesaña, "Unsafe Knowledge"


October 7. Evidence


Williamson, chapter 9


October 14. Assertion


Williamson, chapter 11


• Sessions 7-12: Knowledge and Lotteries


October 21. The Puzzle and Closure


Hawthorne, chapter 1

Hawthorne, "The Case for Closure"


October 28. Skepticism


Hawthorne, pp. 113-141

Schaffer, “Skepticism, Contextualism, and Discrimination”


November 4. Some Arguments for Contextualism


Hawthorne, pp. 51-68

Stanley, "On The Linguistic Basic for Contextualism"

Stanley, "Context, Interest-Relativity, and Knowledge", sections 1-3


November 11. Some Arguments against Contextualism


Hawthorne, pp. 80-112

Schiffer, “Contextualist Solutions to Skepticism”


November 18. Subject-Sensitive Invariantism


Hawthorne, pp. 141-149 and chapter 4

Stanley, "Context, Interest-Relativity, and Knowledge", sections 4-6




December 2. Relativism


McFarlane, "The Assessment Sensitivity of Knowledge Attributions"

Richard, "Contextualism and Relativism"


Sessions 13-14: Transmission of Warrant


December 9. Dogmatism


White, “Some Problems for Dogmatism”

Hawthorne, pp. 73-77

Wright, “Anti-Skeptics: Simple and Subtle”


December 14. The McKinsey Problem


Davies, “The Problem of Armchair Knowledge”

Wright, “Some Reflections on the Acquisition of Warrant by Inference”