P750 | 3259 | Gupta

Topic: Truth and Rational Choice The central theme of the seminar will be that the concepts of truth and rational choice have an unusual logical character: they are circular. We shall see that we gain better theories of truth and rational choice, if we treat these concepts as circular. We shall begin the seminar with a study of the general theory of definitions – a theory that shows how we can make sense of circular definitions and of systems of mutually interdependent definitions. Then we shall apply this theory to the concepts of truth and rational choice. We shall compare the results with the fixed-point theories of truth and with game theories based on Nash equilibrium and related ideas. The general theory of definitions (along with its application to truth) is presented in Nuel Belnap's and my book, The Revision Theory of Truth (MIT Press, 1993). Phil Kremer has obtained some important results on the subject and we shall study his work. Fixed- points theories of truth were developed by Saul Kripke, Robert L. Martin, Peter Woodruff, Solomon Feferman, and others. We shall study some of the papers of these authors also. Luce and Raffa's Games and Decisions is a good introduction to the equilibrium concept. After a brief introduction to game theory, we shall study some recent work of Andre Chapuis on the concept of rational choice. Prerequisites: Knowledge of elementary set theory and of first-order logic (up to the completeness theorem). Students who have successfully completed P505 meet the prerequisite.