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Course Details

Spring 2018-2019
* PHI 371 (EC)   na, npdf

Philosophical Foundations of Probability and Decision Theory

Adam N. Elga

Are simpler theories more likely to be true? Can testimony make it rational to believe in miracles? Should defendants be convicted based on merely statistical evidence? Should the long-term survival of humanity swamp all other interests? Does physics show that there are probably many universes? Do probabilities make sense even if the world is deterministic? We will attack these and other questions through the lens of modern philosophical probability and decision theory.

Sample reading list:
Lara Buchak, Belief, Credence and Norms
Roger White, Fine-Tuning and Multiple Universes
Alan Hajek, Fifteen Arguments Against Hypothetical Frequentism
Ben Bradley, Against Satisficing Consequentialism
Michael Smith, Frank Johnston, Absolutist Moral Theories

Reading/Writing assignments:
Readings: approximately two philosophy papers per lecture. Writing assignments: periodic problem sets include a mix of problems and short-answer questions, term paper.

Term Paper(s) - 40%
Class/Precept Participation - 20%
Problem set(s) - 40%

Prerequisites and Restrictions:
Some comfort with mathematics recommended. We will teach you all the theory you need to know, but will proceed at a brisk pace and want you to be comfortable picking up the elementary probability theory that figures in many of the readings. Students also interested in PHI 341 encouraged to take both courses simultaneously..

Other information:
This course is co-taught by Professor Adam Elga and graduate student Alexander Meehan through the Collaborative Teaching Initiative.


Schedule/Classroom assignment:

Class numberSectionTimeDaysRoomEnrollmentStatus
42453 S01 01:30:00 pm - 04:20:00 pm W        Enrolled:24 Limit:24 Closed