PHIL0358: Rationality & Cognition
Middlebury College
Spring 2016
Twilight 301
Tuesdays and Thursdays,
Section A: 9:30-10:45pm
Section B: 11:00-12:15pm

Kareem Khalifa, PhD
Course Website: http://s16.middlebury.edu/PHIL0358A/
(all lecture notes are posted here)
Instructor Website: http://khalifa.org
Office Hours: Mondays, 4-5 pm, Thursdays, 3-5 pm,
and by appointment
Course Blog: http://sites.middlebury.edu/ratcog/

Course Description: Philosophers (and others) study how we ought to reason. By contrast, psychologists (and others) study how we actually do reason. Often, their findings conflict. How should these conflicts be reconciled? Potential topics include different kinds of reasoning (deductive, probabilistic, explanatory, analogical, practical, etc.), naturalized epistemology, theories of justification, and heuristics and biases. Prerequisites: either PHIL0180 or PSYC0105.

Question about course policies? Try here first.

Schedule of readings and assignments:

PRESENTERS are responsible for summarizing the readings in a blog entry by Sunday (if presenting on Tuesday) or Tuesday (if presenting on a Thursday).

Each member of an assigned ON-CALL GROUP is responsible for posing questions to the blog by Monday (for a presentation scheduled for Tuesday) or Wednesday (for a presentation scheduled on a Thursday.)

EVERYONE is responsible for reading the blog entry and coming up with answers to the group’s questions before class, and participating in the discussion during class.

LIST OF ON-CALL GROUPS

DATE/ TOPIC

READING

ON-CALL GROUP

PRESENTER (A Section)

PRESENTER (B Section)

February 16

Introductions
Sinnott-Armstrong & Fogelin, "The Language of Argument," pp. 51-62 in Understanding Arguments.
Nolt, "Validity and Counterexamples," pp. 6-13 in Logics;
My Blueprint for Writing a Philosophy Paper.

N/A

KK

[HANDOUT:Argument Reconstruction]

[PowerPoint]

1. Should epistemology be naturalized?

February 18

Pollock and Cruz, Ch. 1: “Problems of Knowledge”

N/A

KK [HANDOUT: Problems of Knowledge]

[PowerPoint]

February 23

Churchland, Patricia Smith. 1987. "Epistemology in the age of neuroscience." The Journal of Philosophy 84: 544-553.
Almeder, Robert. 1990. “On naturalizing epistemology.” American Philosophical Quarterly 27: 263–279.

1

Max Riddle, Alexandre Traxler, Brennan Delattre [Blog]

2. What is the structure of our reasoning?

February 25

Pollock and Cruz, Ch. 2: “Foundations Theories”

N/A

KK [HANDOUT: Foundationalism]

[PowerPoint]

March 1

Pylyshyn, Zenon. 1999. “Is vision continuous with cognition? The case for cognitive impenetrability of visual perception.” Brain and Behavioral Sciences 22: 341-365

2

Emily Goins, Porter Knight [Blog]

March 3

Pylyshyn, continued: 366-423

3

Annie Ly, Chelsea Montello [Blog]

March 8

Pollock and Cruz, Ch.3: “Coherence Theories”

N/A

KK [HANDOUT: Coherentism] [PowerPoint]

March 10

Thagard, Paul. 1989. "Explanatory coherence.” Behavioral and Brain Sciences 12: 435-467

4

Jessica Gutierrez, Ariana Mills [Blog]

March 15

Thagard, continued: 468-502.

4

Ryan Peer, Hannah Grotzinger, John Lower [Blog]

 

3. Can we determine what is rational from reflection alone?

March 17

Pollock and Cruz, Ch.4: “Externalism”

N/A

KK [HANDOUT: Externalism] [PowerPoint]

March 22

Todd, Peter M. and Gerd Gigerenzer. 2000. “Précis of Simple Heuristics That Make Us Smart.” Behavioral and Brain Sciences 23: 727-741.

3

Olivia Brigstocke, Nosagie Asaolu [Blog]

March 24

Todd and Gigerenzer, continued: 742-777.

2

Marisa Dreher, Neve Stearns [Blog]

March 25

PAPER #1 Due in DROPBOX by 11:59PM

N/A

March 29

Spring Break

April 1

4. Are there universal norms of rationality?

April 5

Pollock and Cruz, Ch.5, “Epistemic Norms”

N/A

KK [HANDOUT: Epistemic Norms (Critique of Externalism)] [PowerPoint]

April 7

Re-read Pollock and Cruz, Ch.4, Sections 1-3. (This will be most relevant to the Oaksford and Chater readings in two weeks)

N/A

KK [HANDOUT: Probabilism & Bayesianism] [PowerPoint]

April 12

Stanovich, Keith E. and Richard F. West. 2000. “Individual differences in reasoning: Implications for the rationality debate?Behavioral and Brain Sciences 23: 645-680.

1

Kendall Arthur, Audrey Goettl [Blog]

April 14

Stanovich and West, continued: pp. 680-717

1

Janessa Gonzalez, Katie Reuther, Neve Stearns, ZiYuan Qu [Blog]

5. What is rationality?

April 19

Pollock and Cruz, Ch. 6, “Epistemology and Rationality”

N/A

KK [HANDOUT: Epistemology & Rationality] [PowerPoint]

April 21

Oaksford, Mike and Nick Chater. 2009. “Précis of Bayesian Rationality: The Probabilistic Approach to Human Reason. Brain and Behavioral Sciences 32: 69-84.

2

Steven Medina, Deniz Bingul [Blog]

April 26

Oaksford and Chater, continued: 85-115.

3

Timothy Ogle, Carly Watson, Nosagie Asaolu [Blog]

April 28

Elqayam, Shira, and Jonathan St. B. T. Evans. 2011. "Subtracting ‘ought’ from ‘is’: Descriptivism versus normativism in the study of human thinking." Behavioral and Brain Sciences 34: 233-248.

4

Olivia Artaiz, Bridget Instrum [Blog]

May 3

Elqayam and Evans, continued: 249-284.

4

Maddie Hoar, Eunice Kim, Max White, Canary Ly [Blog]

May 5

Mercier, Hugo and Dan Sperber. 2011. “Why do humans reason? Arguments for an argumentative theory.” Brain and Behavioral Sciences 34: 57-74.

3

Eliza Jaeger, Kristin Corbett [Blog]

May 10

Mercier and Sperber, continued: 75-111

2

Mary Thomas

Devon Tomasi

Erick Masias

May 12

Pollock and Cruz, Ch. 7, “Direct Realism”

1

Emily Vicks

Todd Hunsaker

May 19

Paper 2 due in DROPBOX by 11:59PM

N/A

N/A

N/A

LIST OF ON-CALL GROUPS

Group

Section A

Section B

1

Olivia Artaiz
Maddie Hoar
Eunice Kim
Kate McCluskey
Ryan Peer

Hannah Grotzinger
Bridget Instrum
John Lower
Canary Ly
Max White

2

Olivia Brigstocke
Eliza Jaeger
Annie Ly
Timothy Ogle
Carly Watson

Nosagie Asaolu
Kristin  Corbett
Todd Hunsaker

Ariana Mills
Chelsea Montello

3

Marisa Dreher
Emily Goins
Jessica Gutierrez
Steven Medina
Mary Thomas

Deniz Bingul
Porter Knight
Eric Masias
Devon Tomasi

4

Kendall Arthur
Janessa Gonzalez
Katie Reuther
Max Riddle
Emily Vicks

Brennan DeLattre
Audrey Goettl

ZiYuan Qu
Neve Stearns
Alex Traxler