180084 SE Irrationality (2016W)
In this seminar we will question the role of irrationality in relation to human agency. If a rational agent is someone we hold responsible for her actions because she can account for reasons for doing them; how do we then describe the kind of agency where we don’t know why or what we do, like certain habits, or the kind of actions where we act despite our own will? What makes an act irrational? Is it a failure in the house of reason, as Davidson puts it? Is it an act of Akrasia, the weakness of the will or is it something that occurs out of a reflexive breakdown? Is it an interruption of our capacity to be self-interpreting animals, as Jonathan Lear would have it? The seminar will provide an overview of philosophical attempts to deal with irrationality. We will approach the following questions; how can we account for irrationality in relation to human agency; what counts as irrational acts in the first place and given that such acts exist; are we responsible for them and in which way? In the seminar, we will discuss classical text on rationality and agency (Davidson, Anscombe, Mele) as well as consult phenomenological psychology (Lear, Fuchs, Legrand) in order to address how we are affected in our everyday life by our irrational actions and why they occur. We will thus gain an overview of irrational, arational, non-rational and unconscious aspects of our agential life that ultimately will lead us to discuss and question how we as human beings can make our actions transparent to ourselves qua being rational.
- Registration is open from Mo 12.09.2016 09:00 to Mo 26.09.2016 09:00
- Registration is open from We 28.09.2016 09:00 to We 05.10.2016 09:00
- Deregistration possible until Mo 31.10.2016 23:59
Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N
Aims, contents and method of the course
Assessment and permitted materials
Minimum requirements and assessment criteria
- The students should attend 10 or more seminars out of 13.
- The students are expected to read the texts carefully before class and be prepared to discuss the texts in class.
- The students are expected to give one oral presentation of the central arguments of one of the readings during the semester.
- Finally, the students are expected to submit two short essays on topics discussed in class while covering at least two of the assigned texts from the syllabus. The essays are expected to be of 2500 words each. Guidelines and Deadlines will be uploaded on Moodle.
Students will achieve 5 ECTS points from participating successfully in this course.