Syllabus, Master's level, 5FT178
- Education cycle
- Second cycle
- Main field(s) of study and in-depth level
- Theoretical Philosophy A1N
- Grading system
- Fail (U), Pass (G), Pass with distinction (VG)
- Finalised by
- The Department Board, 4 September 2023
- Responsible department
- Department of Philosophy
120 credits, of which 90 credits should be in a discipline within the Faculty of Arts, Social Sciences, Languages, Law, Theology or Educational Sciences and include a thesis of at least 15 credits
Upon successful completion of the course, students should be able to:
- articulate the connection and difference between the natural and cultural sciences respectively from a cultural-epistemological perspective in comparison with other accounts
- explicate the notion of symbolic form and its implications for understanding the nature of the human being
- summarize and evaluate the cultural-epistemological account of the relationship between religion, language, art, history and science
- distinguish in a thorough and balanced way between naturalistic, social and cultural explanations of human institutions and artefacts.
Cultural epistemology is not the name of an established field of inquiry, but rather an umbrella term referring to an approach that can be taken toward questions in epistemology in which human knowledge and understanding, including self-knowledge and self-understanding, are construed as intimately interwoven with, and expressed in and through, cultural practices and artefacts. It is distinguished from social epistemology insofar as the latter is largely concerned with problems of justification, whereas cultural epistemology aims to describe the phenomena of thinking, understanding and knowing as such, and to characterize what constitutes "knowledge" in different contexts with respect to the conditioning elements of what philosopher Vincent Descombes has called our "institutions of meaning". According to Ernst Cassirer, whose works we will read for the course, human beings are most fundamentally "symbolic animals", who incorporate systems of signs with the world. The work of epistemology then becomes to elucidate the corresponding conditions of possibility for the "fact of culture", including the knowledge produced by the sciences, without reducing their complexity.
Lecture-seminars. The lecture-style will be thoroughly interactive. Students are expected to be present, prepare, participate in and contribute to the discussions.
Class participation, two reactions papers presented and discussed in class (1000 words each), oral comments on other papers/presentations and one final essay (2000 words) at the end of the course on a topic which is 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.