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Course Details

Fall 2012-2013
PSY 311 (EC)   Graded A-F, P/D/F, Audit

Rationality and Human Reasoning

Daniel N. Osherson

Reaching belief and making decisions are two activities performed especially well by humans. Contemporary investigation distinguishes normative from descriptive questions about belief and decision. The former concern how our cognition ought to function; the latter, how it actually functions. Fundamental theories of belief and decision will be presented in the course, and discussed from both the normative and descriptive perspectives. Utility, logic, probability, and abduction will all be examined, with additional topics drawn from computability theory and from collective choice.

Sample reading list:
Hacking, Ian, An Introduction to Probability and Inductive Logic
Grandy, Richard and Osherson, Daniel, Sentential Logic Primer

Reading/Writing assignments:
In addition to reading (about 50 pages per week), there will be quizzes designed to ensure facility with basic, formal concepts, e.g., compound lottery, truth-assignment, probability distribution, learning rule. A brief term paper is also required.

Final Exam - 30%
Quizzes - 50%
Class/Precept Participation - 20%

Other Requirements:
Not Open to Freshmen.


Schedule/Classroom assignment:

Class numberSectionTimeDaysRoomEnrollmentStatus
20535 L01 10:00:00 am - 10:50:00 am M W   Green Hall   0-S-6   Enrolled:57 Limit:80
P01 09:00:00 am - 09:50:00 am Th   Wallace Hall   006   Enrolled:13 Limit:15
P02 10:00:00 am - 10:50:00 am Th   Wallace Hall   006   Enrolled:13 Limit:15
P03 11:00:00 am - 11:50:00 am Th   Wallace Hall   006   Enrolled:13 Limit:15
P04 01:30:00 pm - 02:20:00 pm F   Green Hall   0-N-2   Enrolled:10 Limit:15
P05 02:30:00 pm - 03:20:00 pm F   Green Hall   0-N-2   Enrolled:7 Limit:15
P06 03:30:00 pm - 04:20:00 pm F   Green Hall   0-N-2   Enrolled:1 Limit:15