What Is Rationality?|
Spring 2019 not offered
SISP 283, PHIL 154|
What does it mean to be rational? Although this question has traditionally been the province of philosophy, reference to reason and rationality is also pervasive in the modern social and behavioral sciences. Humans are rational creatures--or, if they are not in practice, they should be. This course takes an expansive view of rationality and its history, tracing how the concept has changed over time, and critically examining its significance in the sciences and broader culture today. From the role of reason in human flourishing and civic discourse in the ancient world, to early modern conceptions of logic as "the art of thinking," to Cold War attempts to build machines that might reason more reliably than frail humans, this exploration of reasoning and rationality explores several interlocking themes: the relationship between reason and other facets of the mind, especially emotion; conceptions of reason as an evaluative vs. a calculating faculty; the role of reason in human judgment; the relationship between rationality and rules; the relationship between choosing rationally and choosing ethically; and the fraught history of attempts to formulate universally valid principles of rationality.
||Gen Ed Area Dept:
|Course Format: Lecture||Grading Mode: Graded|
||Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (HIST-MN)
Course readings will be available in PDF form online and in a coursepack.
|Examinations and Assignments: |
In addition to regular reading questions, there will be a take-home midterm and take-home final.
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