Knowledge, Reality, and Truth (KNOW0101)

Fall - October 17–December 20, 2020
Days & Time:
Saturday, 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Alex Rigas

Course Description

Is it possible that how things “really” or “truly” are is very different from how they appear to us? Could it be, for example, that the “real world” in which we believe ourselves to live is actually a computer program, á la The Matrix? If not, then how can we know that this is not the case – what is our evidence or justification for ruling out, with certainty, such a scenario? What, if any, are the implications of skeptical scenarios for more ordinary knowledge – what, if anything, can we, as believers aiming at knowledge, learn from such apparently fantastic and improbable hypotheses? And would it make any ethical difference – would our lives be better or worse off, and in what ways – if we actually are living in the Matrix?

This course has three aims: 1) to introduce students to key themes in philosophy, particularly metaphysics and epistemology, and in so doing to show how an apparently abstruse discipline is of surprising relevance to our lives; 2) to provide students with essential tools for understanding the nature of logical reasoning and evaluating arguments; 3) to sharpen students’ abilities to express themselves clearly and cogently, in writing and especially in speaking. The course includes asynchronous work, which students are expected to complete between class sessions.

KNOW0101 | Call Number: 22324 | View this listing on the Directory of Courses.


Alex Rigas

Alex Rigas holds an M.A. and an M.Phil. in philosophy from Columbia University. His research has been mainly in 19th- and 20th-century European philosophy, especially Martin Heidegger. He has taught at Columbia and New York University, and his teaching interests include political, social, and legal philosophy, ethics, and metaphysics and epistemology. Alex believes that philosophy matters to and is for everyone. He currently works as a tutor in college and high school humanities and social sciences.

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Specific course details such as topics, activities, hours, and instructors are subject to change at the discretion of the University. Not all instructors listed for a course teach all sections of that course.