Syllabus for Applied Epistemology

Tillämpad epistemologi


  • 7.5 credits
  • Course code: 5FT183
  • Education cycle: First cycle
  • Main field(s) of study and in-depth level: Theoretical Philosophy G2F

    Explanation of codes

    The code indicates the education cycle and in-depth level of the course in relation to other courses within the same main field of study according to the requirements for general degrees:

    First cycle

    • G1N: has only upper-secondary level entry requirements
    • G1F: has less than 60 credits in first-cycle course/s as entry requirements
    • G1E: contains specially designed degree project for Higher Education Diploma
    • G2F: has at least 60 credits in first-cycle course/s as entry requirements
    • G2E: has at least 60 credits in first-cycle course/s as entry requirements, contains degree project for Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science
    • GXX: in-depth level of the course cannot be classified

    Second cycle

    • A1N: has only first-cycle course/s as entry requirements
    • A1F: has second-cycle course/s as entry requirements
    • A1E: contains degree project for Master of Arts/Master of Science (60 credits)
    • A2E: contains degree project for Master of Arts/Master of Science (120 credits)
    • AXX: in-depth level of the course cannot be classified

  • Grading system: Fail (U), Pass (G), Pass with distinction (VG)
  • Established: 2023-02-27
  • Established by: The Department Board
  • Applies from: Autumn 2023
  • Entry requirements:

    57,5 credits in philosophy

  • Responsible department: Department of Philosophy

Learning outcomes

Upon successful completion of the course, students should:

  • be able to apply the central epistemological concepts such as evidence, (internalist, externalist) justification, testimony, and (epistemic and Bayesian) rationality to psychological and social aspects of belief-formation
  • have a good grasp of the key psychological and social phenomena discussed in contemporary applied epistemology, such as bias, belief polarization, echo chambers, epistemic injustice, etc.
  • be able to describe and evaluate the main positions in contemporary applied epistemology (and epistemologically informed psychology) in relation to the above phenomena.


In this course, we will discuss one of the principal ways in which the conceptual tools from contemporary epistemology can be applied to real-world situations. We will, namely, be discussing beliefs that have a significant impact on our social and political lives. These beliefs are formed by selectively gathering and evaluating evidence, influenced by our pre-existing beliefs and cultural identities. The stock examples of such sets of beliefs are climate skepticism and vaccine hesitancy. It is plausible, however, that each of us holds many beliefs formed in a biased and/or prejudiced manner that can result in attitude polarization, our gathering in echo chambers, and epistemic injustice. We will ask how these beliefs should be evaluated from an epistemological point of view. For example, is it the case that the biased or prejudiced believers fail to meet their epistemic obligations (e.g. to respect their evidence)? Is it that they have succumbed to epistemic vice? Are the polarized beliefs or the beliefs of the inhabitants of echo chambers irrational or unjustified? And if not, should we be looking for what's wrong with such beliefs on a societal and structural level (laying no blame on individuals)? The course will offer an overview of the present vigorous debates on the above questions. We will finish by discussing the options for improving the (supposedly) problematic beliefs and believers (both at the individual and social levels).


Instruction will be provided by means of seminars and lectures.


Class participation and a 3000-word essay at the end of the course on a topic approved by the teacher.

If there are special reasons for doing so, an examiner may make an exception from the method of assessment indicated and allow a student to be assessed by another method. An example of special reasons might be a certificate regarding special pedagogical support from the University's disability coordinator.

Other directives

The course may run jointly with the second cycle course 5FT182.

The course may also run jointly with a PhD course. The assessment of PhD students is based upon class participation and a 4500-word essay at the end of the course on a topic approved by the teacher.

Reading list

Reading list

Applies from: Autumn 2023

Some titles may be available electronically through the University library.

Reading List

Information on course readings are announced here or in Studium at the latest five weeks before the start of the course.

  • Stanovich, Keith E. The bias that divides us : the science and politics of myside thinking

    Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press, [2021]

    Find in the library

Reading list revisions