This course examines the three domains of human rationality, belief acquisition, inference, and actions; the various conceptions of rationality for each; and some prevalent failures and their cognitive sources.
Pseudoscience, social misconceptions, and quack medicine are some demonstrations of dubious belief acquisition practices. Violations of logical laws are the sources of inferential failure, and political, financial, and judicial unfairness manifest behavioral irrationality.
The popular explanations of our ubiquitous irrationality tend to use the "usual suspects" of stupidity, ignorance, a temporary mental "hick-up," or the bad wiring of the human brain. We will dig deeper into the cognitive underpinnings of the phenomena, such as memory reconstruction, necessary heuristics, and emotional equilibrium.
This course emphasizes the "inference" aspect of rationality. We'll cover logical concepts such as validity, soundness, incompatibility, inductive strength, and contingency, then proceed with symbolizations and natural deduction proofs in logical languages. Common violations of some rules will be examined in light of our cognitive dispositions and organizational principles.
Catalog Information: COLL-S 105 FRESHMAN SEMINAR IN N&M