Phil/Psych 447, 2010

Seminar in Cognitive Science: Mind and Society

Week 3a: Rational Choice Theory

Discussion Questions

  1. What is the appeal of rational choice theories of human behavior?
  2. What is methodological individidualism and what are its strengths and weaknesses?
  3. What kinds of psychological evidence count against rational choice theories?
  4. Can social exchange, collective action, and social structure be fully explained by rational choice theories or by individualist cognitive theories?
  5. What role should social and ethical norms play in explaining individual and social behaviors?
  6. Can the method of multilevel interactive mechanisms overcome the limitations of rational choice theories?
  7. Is rational choice theory inherently conservative or can it be used to foster social change?

Week 3b: Postmodernism

Discussion Questions

  1. Why has postmodernism been so influential in the study of literature, culture, and society?
  2. Why are postmodernists skeptical about "grand narratives" such as science and traditional philosophy?
  3. Why is power a central idea for postmodernism and how is it applied?
  4. What would a postmodernist say about the method of multilevel interactive mechanisms?
  5. Does postmodernism serve to explain cultural developments or only describe them?
  6. Does postmodernism foster or inhibit social change?

Postmodernist generator:

Week 4: Neuroeconomics

Note: no class Tuesday Oct. 5.

Discussion Questions

  1. How does neuroeconomics challenge rational choice approaches to economics?
  2. Can neuroeconomics explain social phenomena such as power?
  3. Does neuroeconomics mess well with traditional cognitive psychology?
  4. What roles to emotions play in economics decisions and social actions?
  5. What are selves and persons from the perspective of neuroeconomics?
  6. Does neuroeconomics foster or inhibit social change?


Phil/Psych 447

Paul Thagard

Computational Epistemology Laboratory.

This page updated Sept. 27, 2010