In this course we will discuss, from the perspectives of philosophy and psychology, how people should and actually do make decisions under uncertainty. Bringing together these two perspectives will allow us to approach normative aspects of rational decision making formulated in decision theory as well as descriptive accounts based on empirical psychological research. We will study intricacies of and contradictions between normative and descriptive approaches to decision making and see how they can reinforce but also challenge one another.
In the first part of the course, we will address philosophical foundations of rational choice theory, discussing origins of the modern normative approaches to rationality and reasoning under uncertainty, as well as alternative models of bounded rationality. In the second part, we will turn to behavioral research from psychology on how people actually make judgments and decisions. We will discuss empirical findings from various research traditions that have investigated people’s statistical reasoning abilities, their cognitive biases, fast-and-frugal heuristics, and decisions from experience.