Philosophy: Rationality - A Beginner's Guide

Ref: C2339792

The course will 1. examine what it means to be (ir)rational and (un)reasonable; 2. explore the relationship between rationality and reason; 3. introduce the idea of 'practical wisdom'; 4. give a very brief history of reason and rationality in philosophy, with a focus on the Enlightenment.

Course aim

The course explores what it means to be rational and reasonable, and how emotions relate to rational judgment.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is for beginners

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • explain different meanings of 'rational' and 'reasonable'
  • describe how rationality relates to reason
  • explain 'practical wisdom' and how this idea relates to reason and rationality
  • give an indication of how the understanding of, and atitudes to, reason and rationality have changed in the history of Philosophy
  • indicate how and whether my own understanding of reason and rationality has changed as a result of the course

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed
  • It would be helpful if you had access to the internet (Mobile phone, tablet or computer at home or through a library etc.)

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member
  • You could progress to Higher Education courses. Follow link to the PEARL website for information
  • further reading : on rationality and emotion : or on instrumental rationality :

Download full course information sheet

Philosophy: Rationality - A Beginner's Guide


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2018
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

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