* course overview
Why study critical thinking?
This course is designed to be the foundational course of your college education. That’s a bold statement, but it comes close to truth. This is the course where you learn the rules for arguments; you will learn to critique and assess them. Everything you learn in college will be implicitly or explicitly based on an argument. Hence, a course that teaches you the rules of arguments counts as a foundational course.
Every American should take a course like this. Again, that’s a bold statement. However, as American citizens you are asked to vote about issues and candidates that will affect much of your lives and livelihoods. If you cannot reason properly, then your choices will be poor. First step, acquire the tools of reasoning to think for yourself. Acquiring the tools is what this course is about.
No talking on cell phones. Mute the ringer. No text messaging. No reading of other material during class. No laptops, smartphones, tablets (like ipads). (We recommend good old fashion pen and paper. Tablets and stone cutting tools are allowed if you promise to clean up your mess).
This syllabus does not represent a binding document. I reserve the right to change anything on the syllabus, including grading policies. I am the final arbitrator of decisions concerning the class material or policies, including grading policies.
Academic integrity is fundamental to the activities and principles of a university. All members of the academic community must be confident that each person’s work has been responsibly and honorably acquired, developed, and presented. Any effort to gain an advantage not given to all students is dishonest whether or not the effort is successful. The academic community regards breaches of the academic integrity rules as extremely serious matters. Sanctions for such a breach may include academic sanctions from the instructor, including failing the course for any violation, to disciplinary sanctions ranging from probation to expulsion. When in doubt about plagiarism, paraphrasing, quoting, collaboration, or any other form of cheating, consult the course instructor. Reminder: the statement above extends (by definition) to all activities in the class. That includes the practice of signing attendance sheets. Examples of dishonest behavior include (the list is not exclusive): signing in for someone else who intends to be absent, signing in and leaving (without excuse–see “excused absence” policy) before the class hour is finished. Official procedures will be initiated for violators of academic integrity.
I. Class overview:
* deductive (validity and soundness, informally and technically)
* nondeductive – induction – analogy – inference to the best explanation
* probability theory
* decision theory
* causal reasoning
Philosophy is one of several disciplines that studies arguments. What’s distinctive?
Rhetorical vs. Philosophical arguments.
* rules of rhetoric as presented by Aristotle 384 BC – 322 BC
Ethos: appeal to authority
Pathos: appeal to emotion
Logos: appeal to reason.
(Best example that mixes all three is King’s I have a dream speech. Watch it again:
* philosophical arguments are logos based.