Theory of Knowledge (Online)


The theory of knowledge is one of the most central areas of philosophy. In this online course you will cover the key issues in epistemology while also learning to think for yourself and develop your own answers to the core questions in this area.

The theory of knowledge is one of the most central areas of philosophy. In this online course students will cover the key questions in the theory of knowledge, such as: - What is knowledge? - Why is knowledge valuable to us? - What are the sources of knowledge? - Do we really have any knowledge? In examining these questions students will also learn to think for themselves in a clear and critical fashion - that is, they will learn to think philosophically. In so doing they will develop their own answers to the core questions in this area.

For information on how the courses work, and a link to our course demonstration site, please click here.

Programme details

The areas you will cover in this course are:

1. The Value of Knowledge

2. What is Knowledge?

3. Agrippa's Trilemma

4. Rationality and Justification

5. Epistemic Virtue

6. The Sources of Knowledge I: Perception

7. The Sources of Knowledge II: Testimony and Memory

8. The Sources of Knowledge III: Deduction and Induction

9. Radical Scepticism

10. Truth and Objectivity

We strongly recommend that you try to find a little time each week to engage in the online conversations (at times that are convenient to you) as the forums are an integral, and very rewarding, part of the course and the online learning experience.


To earn credit (CATS points) for your course you will need to register and pay an additional £10 fee for each course you enrol on. You can do this by ticking the relevant box at the bottom of the enrolment form or when enrolling online. If you do not register when you enrol, you have up until the course start date to register and pay the £10 fee.

See more information on CATS point

Coursework is an integral part of all online courses and everyone enrolled will be expected to do coursework, but only those who have registered for credit will be awarded CATS points for completing work at the required standard. If you are enrolled on the Certificate of Higher Education you need to indicate this on the enrolment form but there is no additional registration fee.

Assignments are not graded but are marked either pass or fail.

All students who successfully complete this course, whether registered for credit or not, are eligible for a Certificate of Completion. Completion consists of submitting the final course assignment. Certificates will be available, online, for those who qualify after the course finishes.


Description Costs
Course Fee £324.00
Take this course for CATS points £10.00


Dr Peter Wyss

Peter has been teaching weekly classes and online courses for the past ten years at the department, where he is involved in certificate and postgraduate programmes too. He also teaches philosophy for the Open University.

Course aims

  • To introduce students to the main themes in the theory of knowledge, such as the problem of scepticism, the various debates regarding how best to understand what knowledge is, and the key issues regarding the sources of knowledge.
  •  To help participants to think clearly and critically.

Course objectives

  • Introduce students to philosophy, and to the critical skills that are involved in doing philosophy.
  • Guide students through the central topics in the theory of knowledge.
  • Enable students to gain a thorough grounding in the key debates in this central area of philosophy.

Teaching methods

  • Guided reading of texts.
  • Group discussions of particular issues.
  • Questions to be answered in personal folders.
  • Debating from positions given rather than from personal belief (to hone skills of debate).

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course students will be expected to have gained the ability to:

  • Think philosophically.
  • Describe the main issues in the theory of knowledge covered by the course.
  • Describe the main distinctions and ideas that these issues trade upon.
  • Constructively criticise the various philosophical positions that you have explored.
  • Develop a position of your own on the key topics covered.

Assessment methods

You will be set two pieces of work for the course. The first of 500 words is due halfway through your course. This does not count towards your final outcome but preparing for it, and the feedback you are given, will help you prepare for your assessed piece of work of 1,500 words due at the end of the course. The assessed work is marked pass or fail.

English Language Requirements

We do not insist that applicants hold an English language certification, but warn that they may be at a disadvantage if their language skills are not of a comparable level to those qualifications listed on our website. If you are confident in your proficiency, please feel free to enrol. For more information regarding English language requirements please follow this link:


Please use the 'Book' or 'Apply' button on this page. Alternatively, please complete an application form.

Level and demands

FHEQ level 4, 10 weeks, approx 10 hours per week, therefore a total of about 100 study hours.

IT requirements

This course is delivered online; to participate you must to be familiar with using a computer for purposes such as sending email and searching the Internet. You will also need regular access to the Internet and a computer meeting our recommended minimum computer specification.