Reasoning and Uncertainty

Subject 161-201 (2008)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2008.Search for this in the current handbook

Credit Points: 12.500
Level: Undergraduate
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2008:

Semester 2, - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Total Time Commitment: Not available
Prerequisites: At least one first-year single-semester philosophy subject or permission from the Head of School or subject coordinator.
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Assoc Prof Greg Restall
Subject Overview:

The distinction between good and bad reasoning ought to apply whether we are certain of our premises or not. However, many of the important techniques in contemporary logic were developed to model the kinds of proof found in mathematical reasoning, where certainty seems available and proofs guarantee their conclusions. This subject examines the different kinds of reasoning appropriate where uncertainty is rife. It will consider techniques from among elementary probability theory, Bayesian decision theory, inductive inference, game theory, fuzzy logic, non-monotonic reasoning, default inference, dynamic logic and rational belief revision.

Assessment: A series of 7 exercises during the semester 49%, and a 2-hour end-of-semester examination 51%.
Prescribed Texts: Prescribed Texts:A subject reader will be available from the Bookroom at the beginning of semesterAn Introduction to Probability and Inductive Logic (Ian Hacking), Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (2001).
Breadth Options: This subject is a level 2 or level 3 subject and is not available to new generation degree students as a breadth option in 2008.
This subject or an equivalent will be available as breadth in the future.
Breadth subjects are currently being developed and these existing subject details can be used as guide to the type of options that might be available.
2009 subjects to be offered as breadth will be finalised before re-enrolment for 2009 starts in early October.
Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • learn to master different formal techniques used to represent and evaluate reasoning under uncertainty

  • acquire the ability to critically reflect on the successes and failings of each proposed account

  • learn to analyse the assumptions underlying each different proposal to represent or manage uncertainty.

Notes: Students enrolled in the BSc (pre-2008 degree only), or a combined BSc course (except for the BA/BSc) will receive science credit for the completion of this subject.
Related Course(s): Bachelor of Arts
Diploma in Arts (Philosophy)
Diploma in Arts (Philosophy)

Download PDF version.