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Module Specifications

Archived Version 2020 - 2021

Module Title
Module Code

Online Module Resources

NFQ level 8 Credit Rating 15
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None

In this intermediate module students will be introduced to the study of knowledge as such, or what in philosophy is referred to as the discipline of epistemology. This module will take a primarily thematic approach which nonetheless is grounded in the various historical epochs of philosophy. Starting with the figure of Socrates and his declaration “know thyself” the first part of the course will explore philosophy as a way of life and a journey towards self knowledge. Here, we will move from the Socratic moment through to later Stoic exercises in self understanding. Next, the emergence of more faith based understandings of knowledge in the medieval period will be examined. Augustine’s theological dictum of “faith seeking understanding” will be the central starting point of this discussion. The emergence of modern philosophy is explored through the revolution in the concepts of knowledge and doubt which Descartes introduces. Following on from this, later modern thought calls into question the very basis and justification for epistemology itself, with Nietzsche especially. The introduction of the concept of the unconscious in psychoanalysis emerges in more recent times and will be investigated through the work of various thinkers. The final part of the course looks at the question of the so called politics of knowledge, with particular reference to feminism.

Learning Outcomes

1. Competently navigate the fundamental questions of epistemology as a discipline
2. Analyse these questions of epistemology through specific themes and thinkers in the history of philosophy
3. Interpret the core elements of a theory of knowledge as it develops from one historical period to another
4. Recognise the particularity of modern developments in epistemology
5. Recognise the particularity of post-modern developments in epistemology
6. Through reflection, assess the relevance and utility from a more personal perspective of the central themes of knowledge as they emerge on the course

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Tutorial15No Description
Online activity60No Description
Independent Study300No Description
Total Workload: 375

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

General Introduction - What Do I know?

Part 1 - Know Thyself (Socrates to Aristotle to Stoicism)

Chapter 1: Socrates, Knowledge and Virtue

Chapter 2: Plato and Knowledge

Chapter 3: Plato’s Allegory of Knowledge in Relation to Aristotle’s Philosophy

Part 2 - Faith and Knowledge (Augustine and Medieval philosophy)

Chapter 1: A Context for Later Greek Thought

Chapter 2: Themes in Epistemology and Ethics in Later Greek Philosophy I

Chapter 3: Themes in Epistemology and Ethics in Later Greek Philosophy II

Part 3 - I think therefore I am (Descartes and modern thought)

Chapter 1: Modern Thought: Descartes and Modern Rationalism

Chapter 2: Modern Thought: The Rise of Empiricism

Chapter 3: Modern Thought: Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason

Part 4 - Critique of the will to knowledge (Nietzsche etc)

Chapter 1: Nietzsche (1844 - 1900)

Chapter 2: Nietzsche’s Analytic Lens on Morality

Chapter 3: Nietzsche’s Doctrine of Life

Part 5 - The Unconscious of Knowledge (psychoanalysis)

Chapter 1: An Introduction to Slavoj Žižek and his Philosophy

Chapter 2: The Sets of Psychical Development

Chapter 3: The Unconscious, Language, Ideology and Knowledge

Part 6 - The Politics of Knowledge - (feminism etc)

Chapter 1: Foucault: Knowledge and Power

Chapter 2: Feminist Epistemology

Chapter 3: Epistemic Injustice

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment% Examination Weight%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
Reassessment Requirement
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
Indicative Reading List

  • Saint Augustine: 0, Confessions,
  • Plato: 0, The Dialogues of Plato,
  • 0: Democritus, 205048
  • 0: Meditations,
Other Resources

Programme or List of Programmes