Issues in the Philosophy of Knowledge


Reflect on issues pertaining to the philosophy of knowledge and gain a deeper understanding of them.
Gain information on the main tenets of some of the contemporary epistemological theories.
Focus on current problems alongside the traditional topics of the philosophy of knowledge.
Equate and formulate a thoughtful and coherent answer to the philosophical question about the nature and possibility of knowledge.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Nuno Carlos da Silva Carvalho Costa Venturinha


Weekly - 3

Total - 280

Teaching language





COLIVA, A. (2015) Extended Rationality: A Hinge Epistemology. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

FANTL, J., McGRATH, M. (2009) Knowledge in an Uncertain World. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

GRECO, J. (2021) The Transmission of Knowledge. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

MOORE, G. E. (1959) Philosophical Papers. London: George Allen & Unwin.

MOYAL-SHARROCK, D. (2004) Understanding Wittgenstein's On Certainty. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

PRITCHARD, D. (2016) Epistemic Angst: Radical Skepticism and the Groundlessness of our Believing. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

SOSA, E. (2021) Epistemic Explanations: A Theory of Telic Normativity, and What it Explains. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

WILLIAMS, M. (2018) Wittgenstein and Skepticism: Illusory Doubts. In D. E. Machuca & B. Reed (eds.) Skepticism: From Antiquity to the Present, 481-505. London: Bloomsbury.

WITTGENSTEIN, L. (1969, 1974) On Certainty (tr. D. Paul & G. E. M. Anscombe). Oxford: Basil Blackwell; (1990) Da Certeza (tr. M. E. Costa). Lisboa: Edições 70.

WRIGHT, C. (2004) Wittgensteinian Certainties. In D. McManus (ed.) Wittgenstein and Scepticism, 22-55. London: Routledge.

Teaching method

The teaching method adopted for the class combines readings and commentaries on texts in seminar along with discussion of student papers.

Evaluation method

Besides an essay that summarizes the themes running through the seminar (60%), each student is required to write a review of a contemporary article or book chapter, to be chosen from a list of papers selected by the teacher, that will be presented and discussed in class (40%).

Subject matter

Wittgenstein's On Certainty

On Certainty is unanimously regarded as one of Wittgenstein's most important texts along with the Tractatus and the Philosophical Investigations. Some commentators have gone so far as to claim that the usual distinction between "early" and "later" Wittgenstein does not take into account that there is a "third" Wittgenstein whose views are expressed in the author's last work. After discussing Moore's influence upon On Certainty, the seminar concentrates on key themes explored in this text, such as belief, context, evidence, grammar, groundlessness, hinges, infallibility, language-games, presupposition, reliability, rules and scepticism. We will examine different versions of the idea of a "hinge epistemology", put forward by epistemologists such as Coliva, Fantl and McGrath, Greco, Moyal-Sharrock, Pritchard, Sosa, Williams and Wright, and discuss the extent to which this programme responds to the problem of epistemic justification in challenging the dichotomy between internalism and externalism.