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Knowledge, Values, and Rationality

The theme of the cluster is the nature of rationality and its emergence from the interplay of knowledge and values.  The curriculum explores the major forms that human rationality takes in the acquisition of knowledge, logical inference, moral reasoning, decision making, and societal organizations and policy. Individual courses focus on models of rationality as such and conceptualizations of rationality in areas such as logic and inference, natural and social sciences, biomedicine and psychiatry, social and political theory, low, educational policy, societal value conflicts, and moral theorizing including everyday ethical dilemmas. Human rationality is also approached from a comparative perspective that includes machine and animal learning including broader evolutionary perspectives. Finally, cluster courses offer critical perspective on perennial and popular doctrines that endorse non-rational or irrational approaches to existential and ethical questions, politics, and scientific inquiry.

Sophomore Inquiry:

The Sophomore Inquiry course for this Cluster is UNST 239.


For a printable PDF that lists the courses offered in this Cluster, click here.

Learning Outcomes:

To find the learning outcomes for this cluster, click here.


Study Abroad Opportunities:

Visit Study Abroad's UNST Resource page to get the most up-to-date information regarding earning UNST credits abroad.


Please see your adviser before registering for any classes.
Departments Associated With Cluster


  • BI 372U: Nanotechnology: Society and Sustainability (Crosslisted with SCI 372U)


  • COMM 336U: Metaphor

Criminology & Criminal Justice

  • CCJ 320U: Theories of Crime and Justice


  • EC 314U: Private and Public Investment Analysis
  • EC 321U: Fundamentals of Game Theory

Engineering and Applied Sciences

  • EAS 333U: Problems, Solutions and Systems Thinking


  • PHL 300U: Philosophical Methods and Concepts
  • PHL 305U: Philosophy of Medicine
  • PHL 306U: Science and Pseudoscience
  • PHL 307U: Philosophy of Social Science
  • PHL 308U: Elementary Ethics
  • PHL 309U: Business Ethics
  • PHL 310U: Environmental Ethics
  • PHL 311U: Morality of Punishment
  • PHL 313U: Life and Death Issues
  • PHL 314U: Computer Ethics
  • PHL 316U: Social and Political Philosophy
  • PHL 317U: Philosophy of Art
  • PHL 318U: Philosophy of Medicine
  • PHL 320U: Critical Thinking
  • PHL 321U: Practical Epistemology
  • PHL 322U: Minds and Machines
  • PHL 324U: Introduction to Formal Logic
  • PHL 325U: Introduction to Formal Logic II
  • PHL 330U: Language, Representation and Reality
  • PHL 331U: Philosophy of Education
  • PHL 333U: Philosophy of Law
  • PHL 344U: Military Ethics
  • PHL 350U: International Ethics
  • PHL 351U: Philosophy of International Human Rights
  • PHL 352U: Philosophy of International Law
  • PHL 355U: Morality and Health Care
  • PHL 360U: American Philosophy
  • PHL 365U: Atheism
  • PHL 367U: Philosophy of Sports
  • PHL 369U: Philosophy of Sex and Love
  • PHL 370U: Philosophy of Work and Leisure
  • PHL 371U: Philosophy and the City
  • PHL 375U: Food Ethics


  • PH 335U: Wacky or Real: What Everyone Should Know about Physics Scams

Political Science

  • PS 325U: Politics and Legal Enforcement of Morals


  • PSY 300U: Personal Decision Making

Public Health Education

  • PHE 351U: Film and Health
  • PHE 444U: Global Health

Science in the Liberal Arts

  • SCI 372U: Nanotechnology: Society and Sustainability (Crosslisted with BI 372U)

Systems Science

  • SYSC 330U: Models in Science
  • SYSC 332U: Intro to Agent-Based Modeling
  • SYSC 338U: Decision Making in Complex Environments
  • SYSC 350U: Indigenous and Systems Perspectives on Sustainability
  • SYSC 399U: Big Data and the Modern World

University Studies

  • UNST 321U: Learning in Action
Cluster Coordinator: 
Tom Seppalainen
Office Number: 
CH 41
PSU Phone: