Philosophy 680A/B, Fall/Winter, 2005/2006



Professor: Paul Thagard

Office hours (HH368): Monday, 1-2; Friday, 1:30-2:30; and by appointment.

Email: Phone: extension 3594.

Web page:

Time: Tuesdays, 1:00-3:30, HH 357.

Textbook: A. Mele and P. Rawling, eds., The Oxford Handbook of Rationality.

Assignments: Marks will be based on:.

A final mark for both 680A and 680B will be assigned in April, 2006.

There will be extensive discussion: students should do the assigned readings before the relevant class.

Description: This course is concerned with fundamental questions concerning the nature of reason, including theoretical rationality (what to believe) and practical rationality (what to do). The purpose of the course is not only to investigate an important philosophical problem, but also to help students acquire professional skills such as planning projects, making presentations, and developing a research program.

Readings for Fall, 2005:

 Week  Dates  Mele, chapter  Topic.
 1 Sept. 13   Organization
 2 Sept. 20 1-2 Theoretical
 3 Sept. 27 3-4 Practical
 4 Oct. 4 5-6 Hume & Kant
 5 Oct. 11 8-10 Decision theory
 6 Oct. 18 11 Emotion
 7 Oct. 25 12 Rules
 8 Nov. 1 13-14 Irrationality
 9 Nov. 8 15 Psychology
 10 Nov. 15 16-17 Gender
 11 Nov. 22 18 Language
 12 Nov. 29 19 Science

Readings for Winter, 2006: TBA.

This term will combine discussion of a few more chapters from the Handbook, presentations by faculty members, and student presentations.

Useful Web sites

Reason and rationality

Why be rational?

Lecture notes

These notes will appear weekly.

Week 1: Introduction.

Week 2: Theoretical rationality.

Week 3: Practical rationality.

Week 4: Hume and Kant.

Week 5. Decision theory.

Week 6. Emotions.

Week 7. Rules

Week 8: Irrationality

Week 9: Psychology.

Week 10: Gender.

Week 11. Language.

Week 12. Science.

From the Faculty of Arts:

All students registered in the courses of the Faculty of Arts are expected to know what constitutes an academic offense, to avoid committing academic offenses, and to take responsibility for their academic actions.  When the commission of an offense is established, disciplinary penalties will be imposed in accord with Policy #71 (Student Academic Discipline).  For information on categories of offenses and types of penalties, students are directed to consult the summary of Policy #71 (Student Academic Discipline) which is supplied in the Undergraduate Calendar (p.1:11).  If you need help in learning how to avoid offenses such as plagiarism, cheating, and double submission, or if you need clarification of aspects of the discipline policy, ask your course instructor for guidance.  Other resources regarding the discipline policy are your academic advisor and the Undergraduate Associate Dean.

Computational Epistemology Laboratory.

Paul Thagard

This page updated Nov. 28, 2005.