Rationality and Action

When we strive to act rationally and to avoid irrationality in our thoughts and actions, what exactly are we trying to do? And how successful can we be? We will begin by analyzing self-deception and weakness of will, phenomena widely regarded as irrational, in order to explore different conceptions of practical rationality. Then we will consider whether pursuing self-interest is always rational; whether it is irrational to make promises, like marriage vows, that one might not be able to keep; and whether it can be irrational to seek the optimal option when we could "satisfice" instead. We will end by considering the implications of research that identifies implicit biases and evaluative tendencies that persist even when we disavow their content.

Units: 1

Max Enrollment: 30

Prerequisites: Open to First-Years who have taken one course in philosophy and to Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors without prerequisite.

Instructor: McIntyre

Distribution Requirements: EC - Epistemology and Cognition

Semesters Offered this Academic Year: Not Offered