Courses / Modules / PHIL3038 Truth, Opinion, and Ideology

Truth, Opinion, and Ideology

When you'll study it
Semester 2
CATS points
ECTS points
Level 6
Module lead
Kurt Sylvan
Academic year

Module overview

It is commonplace to hear people say such things as, "You should believe that the climate is changing—that's what the evidence tells us", or "You ought not to believe that the earth is flat—that's just not true". These judgements concerning what people ought (not) to believe seem to assume that there are norms governing belief in something like the way that moral norms govern action. But what are these norms? Are they moral? If not, what kind of norms are they? The judgements about what people ought (not) to believe seem also to assume that people bear responsibility for their beliefs in something like the way that they bear moral responsibility for their actions. However, people cannot control what they believe in the way they can control what they do. Moreover, beliefs are influenced by a range of external factors ranging from upbringing to peer pressure to indoctrination. So, are people really responsible for their beliefs? And, if they are, how might such external influences make a difference to whether beliefs satisfy the norms governing them? These are among the issues this module will explore.