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Semester 1

Belief, Desire and Rational Choice (PHIL10159)







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**Spaces on Philosophy Honours courses are extremely limited, and so priority is given to visiting students coming through a direct exchange with the Philosophy department (including Erasmus students on a Philosophy Exchange). Exchange students outside of Philosophy and independent study abroad students cannot be guaranteed enrolment in ANY 3rd/4th year Philosophy courses** Please note that 3rd year Philosophy courses are high-demand, meaning that they have a very high number of students wishing to enrol in a very limited number of spaces. These enrolments are managed strictly by the Visiting Student Office, in line with the quotas allocated by the department, and all enquiries to enrol in these courses must be made through the CAHSS Visiting Student Office. It is not appropriate for students to contact the department directly to request additional spaces. If there is sufficient space for other visiting students to enrol at the start of the semester, visiting students must have completed at least 3 Philosophy courses at grade B or above to qualify for this course; we will only consider University/College level courses.

Course Summary

This course provides an introduction into formal models of belief, desire, and rational choice: Bayesian epistemology, formal value theory, and decision theory.

Course Description

This course uses lectures and tutorials to provide an introduction into formal models of belief, desire, and rational choice. The first part introduces Bayesian epistemology, where belief is treated as an attitude that comes in different degree of strength. Formalising this idea turns out to have rich applications in several areas of philosophy and science. In the second part, we turn to models of desire, drawing on utility theory in economics and value theory in philosophy. We will also look at interactions between desire and belief. The third part of the course introduces the basic concepts of decision theory, which formalises the intuition that rational agents do what they believe will bring them closer to satisfying their desires.

Assessment Information

Written Exam 0%, Coursework 100%, Practical Exam 0%

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All course information obtained from this visiting student course finder should be regarded as provisional. We cannot guarantee that places will be available for any particular course. For more information, please see the visiting student disclaimer:

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