Rationality and Philosophy

Course code PHIL3430Units 10Level 3000Faculty of Education and ArtsSchool of Humanities and Social Science

An introduction to modern conceptions of rationality, their major problems and alternatives. The course introduces Decision Theory and Game Theory. Questions raised by these theories include: Are rational beliefs only those supported by evidence, or could beneficial beliefs also be rational even if contrary to evidence? In order to have a reason to do something, do we need to have some desire to do it? Could nuclear deterrence ever be rational? Are rational agents in the so-called Prisoner's Dilemma doomed to sub-optimal outcomes?

Not available in 2015

Objectives(1) To impart knowledge and understanding of the issues addressed and approaches taken by philosophers in discussing the nature of rationality.

(2) To impart critical skills to deal with these issues and employ these approaches in their thinking about what it is rational to do, to believe, and to desire.

(3) Develop high level written and oral skills in understanding and presenting philosophical issues concerned with rational choices.

(4) Develop an understanding and appreciation of the ways in which rationality theory in both its classical and contemporary forms bears upon the discussion of moral, social and political choice in the society at large.
ContentLectures and tutorials focus on historical and contemporary treatments of the nature of rationality. Content includes an introduction to Decision and Game Theory and a discussion of the rationality of beliefs, of desires, and of actions.
Replacing Course(s)n/a
Industrial Experience0
Assumed Knowledge10 units of PHIL courses at 1000 level, or 40 units of any courses at any level.
Modes of DeliveryInternal Mode
Teaching MethodsLecture
Assessment Items
Essays / Written AssignmentsTwo or more written assignments, which might include minor or major essays, short-answer assignments, or tutorial papers, all totaling 4500 words. 100%
Contact HoursLecture: for 2 hour(s) per Week for Full Term