• Survey some of the central issues in contemporary theory of knowledge.
  • Hone your analytical writing skills.


First Essay (5-6 pages): 20%
Second Essay (6-8 pages): 30%
Midterm Examination: 20%
Weekly Problem Sets: 20%
Class Participation: 10%
No Final Examination.

You will write two papers, and this will count for half your grade. You will be required to submit a rough draft of each paper, and then revise in light of comments. I highly encourage you to discuss your ideas with me at any stage of writing! Additionally, each week, you will write one page about the reading in reply to a question or two which I will hand out. (This is also a chance for you to set down any questions or comments you have about the reading.) Although there will be an in-class midterm examination, there will be no final. Ample time for class discussion will be available; your active participation is expected.


  • Late papers severely penalized: Late papers will only be accepted if arrangements are made BEFORE the due date, and will be penalized ONE FULL GRADE per day late. There is one exception to this policy: medical emergency.

  • No co-authored papers: You are encouraged to discuss the issues with your friends and classmates. There is nothing more fun and rewarding than figuring some things out together! It is also very helpful to have friends read your papers to see where you could try to be clearer, or where you could improve your reasoning. However, the work you submit should be written by you alone.

  • Plagiarism not tolerated: The usual standards of academic honesty apply. Please talk with me if you are unsure what this means. You should be aware of MIT's policies about academic misconduct.