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Course module: FRRMV16011
Topics in Epistemology and Philosophy of Science
Course infoSchedule
Course codeFRRMV16011
ECTS Credits5
Category / LevelM (Master)
Course typeCourse
Language of instructionEnglish
Offered byFaculty of Humanities; Utrecht Graduate School of Humanities; Domein Filosofie en Religiewetenschap RMA;
Contact persondr. J. Korbmacher
Telephone030 253 7986
Contactperson for the course
dr. J. Korbmacher
Other courses by this lecturer
dr. J. Korbmacher
Other courses by this lecturer
Teaching period
2  (12/11/2018 to 25/01/2019)
Teaching period in which the course begins
Time slotD: WED-afternoon, Friday
Study mode
RemarkCounts towards the fulfillment of the “Topics Seminar” requirement for RMA Philosophy students.
Enrolment periodfrom 22/10/2018 09:00 up to and including 23/10/2018 23:59
Course application processOsiris
Enrolling through OSIRISYes
Enrolment open to students taking subsidiary coursesYes
Waiting listNo
Course placement process(Sub)school
The intended purpose of this Topics Seminar is for the participating student  (1) to become familiar with positions taken in the current debates over the specific topic area of the course; (2) to appreciate the arguments for and against the positions; and (3) to develop an independent judgment about the most promising approach in this area.     
This “Topics Seminar” explores in depth issues and texts in the area of epistemology and philosophy of science, including issues related to explanation, reliabilism, scepticism, justification, the status of thought experiments or scientific authority. The specific topic will be different each time, so as to tailor it to current research developments in the field.
Previous topic (2016-17): “Philosophy of Probability and Statistical Inference”:
It’s well known that probabilistic and statistical methods play an important role in the natural and social sciences. It’s perhaps less well known (at least among non-specialists) that these methods are also an important part of the philosopher’s toolbox: probabilistic and statistical methods have found fruitful applications in logic, epistemology, the philosophy of science, ethics, social philosophy, the philosophy of religion, and elsewhere.
In this course, you’ll learn about the philosophical interpretations and applications of probabilistic and statistical methods. At the end of the course, you’ll be familiar with the central topics in the philosophy of probability theory and statistics to the extent that you can find your own way around the contemporary literature.

The specific topic and instructor(s) for the coming year will be announced in the spring.
This course is for students in the RMA Philosophy programme and History & Philosophy of Science; students from other M.A. programmes (such as Applied Ethics), should check with the course coordinator or the RMA Philosophy coordinator (, before enrolling, to ensure that they have the requisite philosophical background. The entrance requirements for Exchange Students will be checked by International Office and the Programme coördinator. Therefore, you do not have to contact the Programme coördinator yourself.
Entry requirements
Prerequisite knowledge
Broad familiarity with undergraduate-level work in the areas covered in the course (logic, epistemology, philosophy of science). Students from outside the RMA programme who have not completed MA or advanced undergraduate courses in this area should consult the instructor before enrolling
Prerequisite knowledge can be obtained through
• Easwaran, Kenny. 2011a. "Bayesianism I: Introduction and Arguments in Favor." In: Philosophy Compass 6/5: 312-20.
• Easwaran, Kenny. 2011b. "Bayesianism II: Applications and Criticism." In: Philosophy Compass 6/5: 321-32.
Private study materials
Will be made available via Blackboard.
Required materials
The course is based in the text-book-in-progress "Fundamentals of Bayesian Epistemology" by Michael G. Titelbaum. The book will be made available in PDF form via Blackboard.
Instructional formats

General remarks
Seminars are 3 hours in length, even when they are scheduled in a 4-hour timeslot.

Class session preparation
Students are expected to have carefully read the assigned textbook chapter in advance of the seminar meeting. In order to prepare classroom discussion, students are required to submit a short (one or two paragraph) answer to an assigned question from the textbook for peer review, and to provide brief feedback to the answers of some of their classmates. One of these answers will have to be submitted (in revised form) as an assignment in week 6. There will be one technical assignment to be submitt

Contribution to group work
Active participation, including taking responsibility for the discussions in groups.

Active participation
Test weight0
Minimum grade-

Test weight30
Minimum grade-

The assignment or examination is assessed for demonstrating understanding of the texts, skills of critical argumentation, and written communication skills.

A written assignment, take-home examination, or in-class examination is due half-way through the term.

Test weight70
Minimum grade-

The final paper is assessed for the quality of the research question, cogency of the argumentation, clarity of written expression, and demonstrated ability to relate the analysis to a clear understanding of the texts for the course.

The final paper is due in week 9.

Kies de Nederlandse taal