Niko Kolodny
Assistant Professor
Department of Philosophy
University of California, Berkeley



Phil 290–2: Reasons and Rationality

M 2–4 in 234 Moses Hall

Office hours: W 2–4 in 144 Moses Hall, or by appointment

You seem to be subject to two different kinds of “ought”: two different kinds of normative demand.  On the one hand, you are subject to demands that the world makes on you.  Some fact of your situation, we might say, is a reason for you to believe or do something.  Because the hunter was caught red handed, you have reason to believe that he was poaching.  Because Moses Hall is on fire, you have reason to leave.  On the other hand, you are subject to demands that your attitudes make on one another, however the world may be.  Some attitude that you have, we might say, makes it irrational of you to have or fail to have some other attitude, whether or not you have reason for or against any of those attitudes.  Because you believe that Berkeley is west of San Francisco, it would be irrational of you to believe that Berkeley is east of San Francisco.  Because you intend to vote for Nader, it would be irrational of you to fail to intend to go to the polling station.  The topic of this seminar is the relation between these two kinds normative demand.



Syllabus (PDF)

Syllabus with links to readings (HTML)

Handout for October 9, 2006

Handout for October 2, 2006

Handout for September 18, 2006

Handout for September 11, 2006

Handout for August 28, 2006