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Knowledge and Reality


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Our Knowledge and Reality short course provides you with a foundation in epistemology and metaphysics as you consider the nature of the world around us, our place in that world and what we know about both.

Join us as we address a number of questions such as: How do we know that the external world really exists, when we cannot step outside our own perceptions to find out? Is experience a reliable source of knowledge? What other sources of knowledge are there? Does God exist? Is faith bound by the normal standards of rationality? What does it mean to be a person, and what makes someone the same person over time? What is the relationship between the self, the mind and the body? What is the nature of causation, or of time? How do we decide if something exists? If everything in the universe is determined by scientific laws, how can we have free will? How do social categories like race bear on our identities? 

In this course you will be introduced to classic and contemporary answers to these questions and philosophical techniques typically used for dealing with them. We will cover:

  • Scepticism 
  • Induction 
  • Faith and rationality 
  • Sources of knowledge 
  • The existence of God 
  • Mind and body 
  • Time 
  • Causation 
  • Free will and determinism 
  • Personal identity 
  • Social categories like race or gender

Assessment is via a 1000-word writing assignment (50%) and 1000-word examination (50%).

30 credits at level 4

  • Entry requirements

    Entry requirements

    Most of our short courses have no formal entry requirements and are open to all students.

    This short course has no prerequisites.

    As part of the enrolment process, you may be required to submit a copy of a suitable form of ID.

    International students who wish to come to the UK to study a short course can apply for a Visitor visa. Please note that it is not possible to obtain a Student visa to study a short course.

  • How to apply

    How to apply

    You register directly onto the classes you would like to take. Classes are filled on a first-come, first-served basis - so apply early. If you wish to take more than one short course, you can select each one separately and then register onto them together via our online application portal. There is usually no formal selection process, although some modules may have prerequisites and/or other requirements, which will be specified where relevant.