Summary
This course is team taught by several members of the philosophy faculty. It introduces students to a number of mathematical tools in philosophy, including probability, causal graphs, decision theory, belief revision, learning theory, and game theory. I have taught the game theory component of the class for several years.

Summary
Game theory is an analytical tool which has found a home in a number of different disciplines: economics, sociology, anthropology, political science, biology, and philosophy. Much of the first 50 years of game theory research worked with an intuitive notion of “rational” behavior which help to guide the development of socalled “solutions” to games. These solutions, it was supposed, were predictively accurate and to some extent normatively recommended. In the late 1990s, questions began to arise about the foundations of these intuitive notions of rationality. To what extent were they required for the legitimacy of the predictions and normative recommendations of game theory? If people aren't rational, should we throw away game theory? Can some or all of it be saved? Etc. These questions led to the development of two foundational programs in game theory. Evolutionary game theory is one of these two programs which attempts to develop solution concepts that apply to individuals who are not supremely rational in the way original supposed by early game theorists. This course is an exploration of this foundational program.

Summary
Traditional epistemology and philosophy of science has focused on the individual learner, usually learning in isolation. While philosophers have clung to this model of inquiry, it has become less and less accurate. This course will focus on a new type of epistemology, “social epistemology,” which focuses on the uniquely social problems that learners confront. These range from problems faced by individual learners – how to handle testimonial evidence or what to do when one finds one disagrees with another – to problems that groups face qua groups – how should a group communicate or how does one form a “group opinion.”
This alternative epistemology has utilized a variety of different methodologies. It should be no surprise that this course will focus on the mathematical techniques, but we will look at a few debates that occur in the more traditional philosophical literature. You are especially encouraged to consider how formal methods might be applied to these problems and also to consider how the formal models in the course might be inadequate to deal with those problems. 
Summary
This course will focus on a few models of the evolution of very simple languages, known as signaling systems. In the first half of the course we will look at several evolutionary and learning models of, socalled, costless signaling. In addition to analyzing the plausibility of these as models for the evolution of protolanguages, we will consider the ways this model has been applied to some old philosophical problems (convention, natural kinds, and the descriptive/normative distinction). One handy feature of signaling games is that many different modeling strategies have been applied to them. This will give us an opportunity to see the variety of strategies used in this literature. In the second half of the course we will turn to different models of the evolution of language which relax the pure common interest assumption of the previous models. Here we will look at the problem of “signal cost” and attempt to determine the extent to which this feature expands the set of explanations available for the evolution of simple languages. Costly signaling has been used by both biologists and economists and we will have a look at the similarities between these two approaches.
