Philosophy 109: Introduction to Quantitative Reasoning sas. 109: Introduction to Quantitative Reasoning and Decision Making ... An Introduction to Probability and Inductive Logic, by Ian Hacking (IL) Resources

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<ul><li><p>Philosophy 109: Introduction to Quantitative Reasoning and Decision Making </p><p>Instructor: Branden Fitelson Office: Seminary 3, 110 </p><p>E-mail: branden@fitelson.org </p><p>Description This 100-level lower-division undergraduate course, which will be open to freshman, aims to introduce students to the fundamentals of logical, probabilistic, and statistical thinking, as well as the basic principles of rational decision-making. Nowadays, we are all bombarded by information, arguments, and statistics. The aim of this course is to provide some basic principles for reasoning our way through the sorts of data (and rhetoric) we all encounter on a daily basis. We will begin with some elementary principles of deductive logic (and inference). Then, we will discuss some of the fundamentals of inductive inference, probability, and statistics. Finally, we will learn some basic rules for making rational decisions. Along the way, we will apply the various techniques and principles we learn to some well-known contemporary issues and debates, with an eye toward diagnosing and avoiding some common errors that can lead us astray. Textbooks Choice &amp; Chance, by Brian Skyrms (CC) An Introduction to Probability and Inductive Logic, by Ian Hacking (IL) Resources I will supplement the texts with a fair amount of my own material. Detailed lecture notes and handouts will be posted on the course website regularly. Requirements </p><p> Bi-weekly homework assignments (33%). These homework assignments will mainly involve the application of concepts, principles, and techniques covered in class to real-world examples of quantitative reasoning that appear in recent news and current events. </p><p> Mid-Term Examination (33%). The mid-term will focus on the logic/probability parts of the course, and so will involve mainly exercises testing these fundamental logical concepts and principles. </p><p> Final Examination (33%). The final will be cumulative, and will focus on student understanding of central issues and themes from the course as a whole. </p><p> [Strong class participation will also be taken into account when assigning grades.] </p></li><li><p>Prerequisites and Learning Outcome Goals The course has no prerequisites. Indeed, it will be designed to expose all students to basic logical principles and techniques that can be applied to actual quantitative reasoning problems (which will be illustrated via many examples from contemporary life). As such, it will not presuppose any significant formal (or mathematical) background. The idea is to make the material as simple and fundamental as possible, while showing how it can be put to use in real-world reasoning situations that we all encounter on a regular basis. Schedule </p><p> Unit 1 (4 weeks): Deductive Reasoning - This unit will cover elementary truth-functional logic (propositions, </p><p>arguments, truth-tables, venn diagrams, and basic forms and methods of deductive inference). Readings: chapter 1 of (CC) and chapter 1 of (LL), as well as some of my own supplementary material </p><p> UNIT 2 (6 weeks): Inductive and Statistical Reasoning </p><p>- This unit will go over some aspects of elementary probabilistic and statistical reasoning (some basic principles of probability calculus, counting, games of chance, and some fundamental ideas from statistics such as sampling and simple hypothesis testing). Chapter 2 of (CC), parts of chapters 2-4, 11, 13, and 1618 of (IL), as well as some of my own supplementary material. </p><p> UNIT 3 (4 weeks): Rational Decision Making </p><p>- This unit will introduce the students to (the essentials of) modern rational choice theory (the nature of rational preferences, basic concepts from expected utility theory, and perhaps some paradoxes and/or puzzles of concerning rational choice). Chapters 810 of (IL), as well as some of my own supplementary material. </p></li></ul>