Elijah Millgram

Copyright © 2017 Elijah Millgram.
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Senior Seminar: Values and Defeaters
PHIL 4010

Required textbooks:

Optional textbooks:

Additional readings will be made available through the Marriott Library reserve desk. (See Marriott's Course Reserve How to Guide for an intro to using the library reserves.) For best results with JSTOR, either click on a JSTOR link while you're on-campus or click through to the journal from the Marriott catalog, log in, and search JSTOR for the item.

Reading Assignments:

  1. Aug. 22: Introduction: Values, Bounded Rationality, Defeasibility. Optional prereading: Lenman,"Consequentialism and Cluelessness," Philosophy and Public Affairs 29(4), Fall 2000: 342-370. (JSTOR can be accessed on-campus, or by logging onto a library proxy server.) See also XKCD's Map of Optimal Tic-Tac-Toe Moves.

    Further reading: If you want to see what usually goes under the heading of 'value theory' (that is, what we're not going to be doing in this class), I've put a recent survey volume, Hirose and Olson, The Oxford Handbook of Value Theory, on reserve in Marriott.

  2. Aug. 29: The Look and Feel of Bounded Rationality. Reading: Herbert Simon, "A Behavioral Model of Rational Choice" (ch. 14 in his Models of Man; online reserve); Gerd Gigerenzer, "Can Ignorance Beat the Stock Market?" (ch. 3 in his Simple Heuristics That Make Us Smart; online reserve); Jonathan Bendor et al., "A Behavioral Model of Turnout," American Political Science Review 97(2), May 2003: 261-280 (available through online reserve).

    Optional reading: John Conlisk, "Why Bounded Rationality?" Journal of Economic Literature 34 (June 1996): 669-700 (online reserve); Cliff Landesman, "When to Terminate a Charitable Trust?" Analysis 55(1), Jan 1995: 12-13 (online reserve).

    Further reading: Gerd Gigerenzer, "The Adaptive Toolbox" (online reserve).

  3. Have a great Labor Day -- take your reading to the beach!

  4. Sept. 5: Common Sense vs. a Modest Proposal. Reading: John Tooby and Leda Cosmides, "The Psychological Foundations of Culture," pp. 100-112 (online reserve; the library has titled this excerpt "The Adapted Mind," but the whole chapter is on reserve also). Elizabeth Anderson, Value in Ethics and Economics, ch. 1. Martha Nussbaum, "The Protagoras: A Science of Practical Reasoning" (online reserve).

    Optional reading: Anderson, VEE, Preface; Simon, "Rational Choice and the Structure of the Environment" (look at the latter pages of the excerpt from Models of Man); the rest of the Tooby and Cosmides paper.

    Further reading: Plato, Protagoras.

  5. Sept. 12: The View from Down Here vs. the View from Up There. Reading: Elizabeth Anderson, Value in Ethics and Economics, chs. 3-4, plus the first full para. on p. 166 ("Commodity fetishism also provides...").

    Optional reading: Jeffrey, "Von Neumann-Morgenstern Utility Theory".

    Further reading: Cooter and Rappoport, "Were the Ordinalists Wrong About Welfare Economics?", Journal of Economic Literature 22, June 1984: 507-530; Michael Mandler, "A Difficult Choice in Preference Theory: Rationality Implies Completeness or Transitivity but Not Both".

  6. Sept. 19: Incommensurability and Self-Criticism. Reading: Elizabeth Anderson, Value in Ethics and Economics, ch. 5; Bernard Williams, Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy, ch. 8 ("Knowledge, Science, Convergence", online reserve).

    Optional reading: Elizabeth Anderson, Value in Ethics and Economics, chs. 6, 9, Conclusion; review chs. 3-4. Nelson Goodman, Fact, Fiction, and Forecast, excerpt (online reserve); John Rawls, A Theory of Justice, excerpt (online reserve; read the para. starting "In searching for the most favored description...").

    Further reading: For your amusement, Painting by Numbers: Komar and Melamid's Scientific Guide to Art.

  7. Sept. 26: Bounded Rationality and Expressive Attitudes. Reading (tentative): Patrick Wilson, "Hill Climbing" (online reserve); Ludwig Wittgenstein, Remarks on the Foundations of Mathematics, I-143, 148-152; TBA.

    Optional reading: Daniel Fessler, "Emotions and cost/benefit assessment"; John Tooby and Leda Cosmides, "The Past Explains the Present: Emotional Adaptations and the Structure of Ancestral Environments"; Roger Crisp, "Supererogation and Virtue".

    Further reading: TBA.

  8. Oct. 3: Splitting the Difference (Between Monism and Local Evaluation). Reading (tentative): Fred D'Agostino, Incommensurability and Commensuration, Preface, chs. I-III.

    Optional reading: TBA.

    Further reading: TBA.