"I'll pay you $5 if you wash my car", your father promises your kid sister. An hour later she's running around the house, happily waving a five dollar bill. Do you conclude that she has washed the car? Most people do, in explicit violation of logical rules. Human superiority over other animals is normally summarized in one word: rationality. Our great achievements are attributed to this unique capacity: language, arts, sciences, social order, legal systems and survival skills. Yet, the same species that finds cure for cancer, sends people to the moon and maintains sophisticated social organizations also engages in pointless wars, racism, gambling, cults, biased decision making and by and large demonstrates consistent and predictable failure to follow simple rules of logic.
In investigating the complicated relations between logical rules and human actual reasoning we'll cover some principle of logical theory, uncover major human inferential failures, examine critically major theories of rationality and explore the reasons behind the apparent human irrationality. Students are expected to take two tests and a final exam, write 3-4 short papers, offer one group presentation based on independent research, and develop a lively intellectual curiosity about the ways our minds work.