PHIL 401(F) Senior Seminar: Rationality

Rationality is essential to modern self-understanding: we define ourselves, in no small part, by our capacity to offer and evaluate reasons in support of our theoretical and practical commitments. Consequently, we are unwilling to accept the validity of either knowledge claims or social institutions that are not rationally justified. There is, however, sharp disagreement among philosophers about the criteria of rationality. The promise of modernity, therefore, cannot be assessed without an adjudication of the philosophical disagreement about the nature of reason. In this course we will examine and evaluate some of the most important historical and contemporary accounts of rationality. The seminar will give senior majors the opportunity to meet several of the authors whose work we will be discussing. Students will be responsible for presentations on the assigned readings, and for the development of a final paper involving independent research. Format: seminar. Requirements: several short assignments, final paper, attendance and participation. Prerequisites: required of, and open only to, senior philosophy majors. Enrollment limit: number of senior majors (expected: 12)