Phil/Psych 447, Phil 673, 2010

Seminar in Cognitive Science: Mind and Society

Week 5: Politics

Week 5a: Motivated inference

Discussion Questions

  1. What is motivated reasoning and how does it distort human thinking?
  2. How does motivated reasoning influence political thinking? What are some Canadian examples?
  3. How do brain experiments like Westen's support the view that thinking is emotional?
  4. What are the positive and negative effects of emotion on cognition?
  5. How does motivated inference influence the thinking and behavior of groups?
  6. How does countermotivated inference (believing what we fear) influence political thinking?
  7. What is the relation between individual rationality and collective rationality?
  8. What can be done to overcome irrationality arising from individual and group motivated inference?

Ziva Kunda on motivated reasoning

Week 5b: International relations

Discussion Questions

  1. How is psychology relevant to understanding international relations?
  2. Is neuroscience also relevant? Think of neuroeconomics.
  3. What is the difference between realist and constructivist approaches to international relations?
  4. How does the behavior of countries depend on the behavior of individuals?
  5. What can cognitive science say about the role of power and ideology in international relations?
  6. What kinds of group irrationality arise in international relations?
  7. Can cognitive science provide any guidance about increasing rationality in international relations?

Phil/Psych 447

Paul Thagard

Computational Epistemology Laboratory.

This page updated Oct. 11, 2010