Philosophy | Thinking and Reasoning
P105 | 16166 | Weinberg, Jonathan


What is it to think about the world rationally?  And why are people
so often so bad at doing it?  This course has four distinct,
but closely related parts, aimed at answering those questions.
First, we have some philosophical preliminaries about whether it
even makes sense to distinguish rational from irrational ways of
thinking, and try to defend rationality from skeptical and
relativistic attacks.  We will then look at the tools of formal
logic to develop a framework for evaluating arguments as deductively
rational (or not); and then, since logic is only a part of
rationality, we will also develop a framework for scientific
reasoning about the empirical world.  Finally, armed with these
accounts of logical and scientific reasoning, we will turn to the
psychology of human reasoning, and examine a number of experimental
results that seem to show the limits of human cognition, and some
particular foibles of reasoning that we may all be susceptible to.