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A Contemporary Introduction

Alvin I. Goldman and Matthew McGrath

Publication Date - 01 December 2014

ISBN: 9780199981120

304 pages
6-1/2 x 9-1/4 inches

In Stock

A contemporary, in-depth introduction to epistemology, covering both traditional and emerging topics


Epistemology has long mesmerized its practitioners with numerous puzzles. What can we know, and how can we know it? In Epistemology: A Contemporary Introduction, Alvin Goldman, one of the most noted contemporary epistemologists, and Matthew McGrath, known for his work on a wide range of topics in the field, have joined forces to delve into these puzzles.

Featuring a clear and engaging writing style and intriguing examples, Epistemology surveys both traditional and emerging topics in depth, acquainting students not only with the history of the field but also its new developments and directions. The first half of the book examines core questions about the nature and structure of justification and knowledge, skepticism, and the Gettier problem, paying careful attention to reliabilism, evidentialism, contextualism, pragmatic encroachment, knowledge-first epistemology, and "dogmatism" about perceptual justification. The second half provides lively excursions into such new topics as the relevance of cognitive science to epistemology, the prospects for experimental philosophy, and the evidential status of intuitions. The authors open coverage of each topic with an introduction for beginners and then move on to analyses suitable for advanced undergraduate and graduate students.

About the Author(s)

Alvin I. Goldman is Board of Governors Professor of Philosophy and Cognitive Science at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. A leading epistemologist for several decades, his books include Reliabilism and Contemporary Epistemology (2012) and Pathways to Knowledge (2002).

Matthew McGrath is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Missouri-Columbia. He has published on a range of topics in epistemology and is best known for work on pragmatic encroachment, including Knowledge in an Uncertain World (2009).


"Epistemology is exceptionally good. The authors are two of the best epistemologists I know. Goldman has probably shaped the field more than any other epistemologist in the past few decades, and McGrath's work is always clear, interesting, original, and important."--Richard Fumerton, University of Iowa

"Epistemology offers students an excellent general introduction to epistemology. It gives a broad and deep overview of the major debates in contemporary epistemology, and it is more up to date than many of its competitors."--David James Barnett, Union College

"Epistemology provides excellent coverage of the state of the art. Anyone studying epistemology will find it much more than an introduction or a handy resource, but a starting point for continued discussion and future research."--Peter Graham, University of California, Riverside

"The authors' writing style is perfect for the level at which this text will be taught. Even the most technical chapter on probabilistic epistemology was written at an undergraduate-friendly level. The selection of topics makes this an engaging text."--James R. Beebe, University of Buffalo

"Epistemology is probably the best introductory text on contemporary epistemology that one can find."--Patrick Rysiew, University of Victoria

"This is a highly accessible and well-written introduction to contemporary epistemology, by two prominent contributors to several of the topics covered in the book. This book deserves to end up on a great many epistemology syllabi."-- Kristoffer Ahlstrom-Vij, University of Kent

Table of Contents

    Epistemology: A Contemporary Introduction, Alvin I. Goldman and Matthew McGrath
    1. The Structure of Justification
    2. Two Debates About Justification: Evidentialism vs. Reliabilism and Internalism vs. Externalism
    3. Defining Knowledge
    4. Skepticism About Knowledge
    5. Contextualism, Pragmatic Encroachment, and the Knowledge Norm of Assertion
    6. Perceptual Justification
    7. Epistemology, Cognitive Science, and Experimental Philosophy
    8. Philosophy's Intuitional Methodology and the Role of Science
    9. Testimony and Peer Disagreement
    10. Collective and Institutional Epistemology
    11. Probabilistic Epistemology
    Works Cited