Rationalism and Empiricism

Instructor: Jonathan Cohen (joncohenREMOVETHIS@aardvark.ucsd.edu (omit text in caps, which reduces automated spam))
office: (732) 445 6163
home: (718) 499 1213
Office hours: Tuesday, 12:30 to 2:00, in Psychology A132, on Busch Campus.


This course will study rationalism and empiricism as opposing conceptions of the nature of knowledge, and of human minds. Among other matters, we'll be comparing what (historical and contemporary) rationalists and empiricists have said about such topics as learning, innateness, the status of mathematical knowledge and the epistemology of mathematics, the relationship between knowledge of language and knowledge of the world, and perception.

Course Requirements

If you are taking the class for credit, you will be responsible for passing in two short papers (~10-12 pages) or one long paper (20-25 pages) on some issue raised in the course. You must meet with me prior to writing any paper for the course to make sure that the topic you choose to write on is appropriate.

Reading List