Syllabus Fall 2007 Philosophy and Psychology of Decision

Syllabus Fall 2007 Philosophy and Psychology of Decision -...

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PHIL 179/PSYC 279 Philosophy and Psychology of Decision-Making Fall 2007 **PLEASE READ ENTIRE SYLLABUS CAREFULLY** Instructor: J.D. Trout Teaching Assistant: Matt Kelsey Office: Crown 349 Email: mkelsey@luc.edu Phone: 8-2301 Office Hours: Wednesday 12-2pm Office Hours: TR 11:30 – 12:30 Course Description This course presents a state-of-the-art discussion of research on judgment and decision-making. Decisions large and small are part of everyday life. What should I have for lunch? Should I go running? Should I pursue a relationship with this person? Will this job make me happy? Should I have this lump removed? Should I save more for a comfortable retirement? Usually, we don’t make the best decisions, even when we have the best information. But the quality of our decision-strategies depends upon factors in economics, philosophy, and psychology. Philosophy contributes its canon of literature on inductive and deductive reasoning, and its focus on prescriptive questions about the purpose of good reasoning. Psychology offers experimental evidence of human capability in the area of judgment, and delineates the processing mechanisms that produce good decisions. As the science of policy, Economics describes the structural conditions that promote good decision-making, and tracks the utilities, costs and benefits (both to individuals and societies) of those decisions. The course also examines the impact of psychological biases on personal decisions and public policies. It will also treat such issues as: psychological models of deliberate vs. automatic processes, intergenerational aspects of decision-making, and the scientific findings on happiness and well-being. All of these goals contribute to the improvement of reasoning, and an understanding of the sources of our errors. Accordingly, the course will examine the merits of individual and social planning as ways of compensating for the psychological biases that otherwise spontaneously control us. Grading: Your final grade will be determined by performance on 4 exams: Exam 1: 25%: Thursday September 20 Exam 2: 25% - Thursday October 11 Exam 3: 25% - Thursday November 8 1
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Exam 4 (Final Exam): 25% - Friday December 14, 1-3PM Check these dates carefully. If they conflict with flights you’ve booked or obligations you need to satisfy—and you can’t take the make-up—please be advised that you will receive a zero on the exam. Blackboard’s grade-posting system is not a practical option in this course; it doesn’t allow a running grade for the course, at least not without lots of treacherous fixes. Though I have heard it has been upgraded. Fortunately, we can still post grades on blackboard, and update them after each exam is graded. Because your grades will be posted, you will never need to ask your grade. And, because the grading procedure for this course is utterly simple and transparent (4 exams, weighted 25% each), there is never any reason for you to ask what your final grade would be if you got an A (for example)
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Syllabus Fall 2007 Philosophy and Psychology of Decision -...

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