PHIL 453.001 – Philosophy of Psychology

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Instructor: Alex Worsnip. This course meets T 4:00 – 6:30 p.m. in CW 213.

This class is about the philosophical psychology of irrationality. We will look at phenomena such as akrasia (weakness of will), self-deception, mental fragmentation, and motivated belief – asking how to theorize these phenomena, why some philosophers have found them puzzling, and what constraints they put on our broader philosophical psychology. We will also consider some related theoretical issues that are more general: do we need to assume that an agent is rational to attribute mental states to her? Are our own mental states in any good sense “transparent” to us? Should we theorize human rationality as “bounded”, and what would that mean? We will read relevant works from both philosophy and psychology, as well as interdisciplinary work that bridges the two fields.

This class is designed to be appropriate for graduate students, and undergraduate enrollment is by permission of the instructor only. Undergraduates should have taken several prior courses in philosophy, preferably including at least one of the following: PHIL 335, PHIL 340, PHIL 353, PHIL 440. Contact the instructor with any questions or to request permission to enroll.