000000 Knowledge Across Cultures and Languages (Wimmer)

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Words for knowledge exist, and are widely used, in all known natural languages. But do people across the world think of knowledge the same way or are there important differences? The aim of this course is to look at how diverse cultural and linguistic communities think of knowledge. This will allow us to appreciate how different in some ways, but also similar in others, their conceptions are. The seminar will begin by covering work in experimental philosophy that highlights cultural similarities and differences in when humans intuitively say of others that they know. We then draw on anthropological work to learn about knowledge in the Ifa religious system (in West Africa) and amongst speakers of Ende (in Eastern Indonesia). Turning to differences in how words for knowledge are realized in the world's languages, we will compare English and German to a number of other languages, including, among others, Turkish and Korean. This part of the course will also involve a guest lecture by a linguist from Sweden, who is a world-leading expert on how human languages represent knowledge. The seminar will be held in English. However, exams and questions may also be in German. In addition to the content-related learning goals, the seminar will also be about practising reading and discussing in English. Students who find their English to be somewhat ‘rusty’ are very welcome. The course will be based on individual articles and book chapters by a number of authors. All texts will be accessible via moodle.