College Of Arts And Sciences | Topics: The Dark Side of Rationality
E105 | 0222 | Savion


"I'll pay you $5 - if you wash my car" your father promises your kid sister.  An hour later she is running around the house, happily waving a five dollar bill.  Do you conclude that she had washed the car?  Most people would, in explicit violation of logi
cal 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 fi
nds a cure for cancer, sends people to the moon, and maintains sophisticated social organizations also engages in pointless wars, racism, gambling, biased decision making, and by and large demonstrates consistent and predictable failure to follow simple r
ules of logic.

In investigating the complicated relations between logic and human everyday performance we'll cover some principles of logical theories, uncover major inferential failures, examine critically major theories of human reasoning and explore the rational behi
nd the apparent human irrationality.

Students are expected to take two tests, write several short papers, offer one group presentation, and develop a lively intellectual curiosity about the ways our mind works.