PHILOS 106 Dr. Andrew Jones-Cathcart
Critical Reasoning Andrew.Jones-Cathcart@canyons.edu
SPRING 2013 Office: HSLH 326; Ph.: 259-7800, ext. 5378
MW 12:30-1:50 Off. Hrs.: MW 10:55-12:25 and by appointment
SECO 201 Web: www.canyons.edu/faculty/jonesa
Introduces reasoning skills for evaluating and understanding arguments, including using deductive and inductive logic, identifying common fallacies and evaluating beliefs, claims, and forms of evidence.
Bassham et al. Critical Thinking: A Student’s Introduction. 5th Ed. McGraw Hill, 2012.
Other required texts will be assigned as handouts, webpages, etc.
Note: The Bassham text has a web-component which students will find useful: http://highered.mcgraw-hill.com/sites/0073407437/student_view0/index.html.
STUDENT LEARNING OUTCOMES
In general, the purpose of the course is to teach students critical thinking standards to help distinguish good arguments from bad arguments, and better arguments from worse. This will involve being able to distinguish common fallacies (mistakes in reasoning) encountered in everyday life, and the ability to articulate the mistake.
At the conclusion of the course, students ought to be able to
1. Measure the important role critical thinking plays in everyday decision-making;
2. Define basic logical concepts such as argument, validity, invalidity, deduction, induction, etc.;
3. Distinguish common fallacies (mistakes in reasoning) encountered in everyday life;
4. Categorize problems with language that occur within arguments, e.g. ambiguity, vagueness, equivocation,
inflammatory language, etc.;
5. Analyze and diagram the structure of reasoning in argument encountered in everyday life;
6. Assess the acceptability of premises, their relevance to a conclusion, and their support of the conclusion;
7. Question and appraise claims disseminated by the mass media;
8. Construct arguments on the basis of critical thinking standards;
9. Evaluate arguments on the basis of critical thinking standards
Come prepared. Since students must attend class to participate and, when applicable, take pop-quizzes, frequent lateness and/or absenteeism will result in a lower overall grade. Attendance will be taken. Absenteeism is excessive if students miss more than three (3) classes.
Late papers will be docked one letter grade for each day of the week they are late, e.g. a “B” paper due on a Wednesday will become a “C” if handed in on that Thursday, a “D” on that Friday, and so on.
The grade will be factored in the following manner:
5 Tests – 100 points each; total = 500 points
Paper – 100 points (We may use Turnitin.com this semester. Information will be given before the assignment is due.)
Pop-quizzes, Class Participation– approximately 50 points.
Total = approximately 650 points.
All tests, including the final, will be cumulative.
Generally, tests will require a Scantron and number 2 pencil for some section(s) of the tests.
MAKE-UP POLICY (Habeas Corpus!!!)
A verified medical emergency or a verified death in the immediate family are the only circumstances in which a make-up for any assignment will be allowed. Students who know in advance that they cannot make it to a test or hand in work on time must contact the instructor prior to the time the assignment is due in order to determine whether or not a make-up or extension can be granted. Failure to do so will result either in a zero for the assignment (in the case of a test) or a reduction in the grade for the assignment (in the case of a late paper; see the section on requirements above.
The grading scale for this class is as follows:
90 – 100% = A
80 – 89% = B
70 – 79% = C
60 – 69% = D
below 60% = F
● The precise requirements for test and paper assignments will be made clear as the course proceeds. Such requirements will be posted far in advance of due dates for particular assignments.
● Tests are designed to test a student’s knowledge of the material learned in class and will resemble the homework exercises regularly done for and in class.
No form of academic dishonesty, e.g. cheating, plagiarism, etc., will be tolerated.
This is the COC policy on plagiarism:
If you do not understand what constitutes dishonesty in an academic setting, please consult your instructor.
Here is a recommended internet link resource about one form of academic dishonesty, plagiarism:
This link is included here because every student is expected to understand what plagiarism is and
how to avoid it. According to C.O.C. policy, it does not matter whether or not a student commits
plagiarism or cheats knowingly; if you are a student at the college-level, you are responsible for
insuring that your work is really your work, and not someone else’s. Although completely
unnecessary and avoidable, academic dishonesty is a sad reality for some students. All cases of
academic dishonesty will be reported to the philosophy department chair, as well as the appropriate
C.O.C. dean(s) who will determine what consequences will follow. Plagiarism and/or cheating of any kind typically results in a failing grade for the assignment or course, probation, or even expulsion from the school.
Note: Papers for this class should conform to styles used in the humanities, e.g. MLA, Turabian, Chicago:
In addition, papers should be free of grammatical and spelling errors.
No offensive or inappropriate behavior is allowed in class. An atmosphere of mutual respect shall be accorded to all persons in the class at all times. Consistent lateness, absenteeism, talking, eating, sleeping, reading, using electronic devices, and other distracting behavior are all examples of inappropriate and disrespectful conduct. If you have a cell-phone, please either turn it off for the duration of the class or do not bring it to class. Students not observing these rules will be asked to leave class.
What about electronic devices, e.g. mobile phones, iPods, and so on?
If you have a cell-phone, please either turn it off for the duration of the class or do not bring it to class. If I catch a student texting, surfing or using any electronic device in class, that student will need to leave class for the remainder of the class period. If this occurs, any work done in that class, including pop-quizzes, will not be counted. Students may use a computer to take notes with two provisos: 1) you may not sit in the back row with a computer, and 2) you may only use the computer to take notes, not to surf. Again, a warning will be issued to students not following these rules. Students not observing any of these rules will be asked to leave class. On days on which there is a pop-quiz, a student who violates these rules and who is asked to leave class before a quiz is given will not be able to take that quiz.
Any student with a disability or any other special condition should immediately contact the
appropriate person in Disabled Student Programs and Services (D.S.P.S.) in SCOH-103 in order
to obtain a letter of accommodation to be presented to the instructor. Please do this at the
beginning of the semester. D.S.P.S. can also be reached via phone at (661) 362-3341. Other
information may be obtained at http://www.canyons.edu/offices/dsps/.
Although I encourage students to contact me via email (by far the easiest way of reaching me), I do not accept assignments via e-mail, nor do I accept anything via attachment.
All papers must be stapled and typed.
Philosophy is a difficult subject to learn, and these readings require very careful reading (and re-reading). Although some of the assignments may appear short or easy, students are forewarned that simply passively reading assignments without taking notes, coming to class, asking questions, and reflecting on the content is not sufficient for doing well in the class.
Students are expected to bring the book and, when applicable, the relevant homework, handouts, and/or other printed materials to class. Students who consistently fail to do this will have their final averages docked.
On occasion, the instructor may give pop-quizzes on material to insure that students are doing the readings.
Throughout the semester, students may be directed to various web sites (including the instructor’s site at
www.canyons.edu/users/jonesa ) for additional readings, handouts, etc.
Should change become necessary, this syllabus is subject to change in order to reflect the specific needs, pacing, and circumstances of this class. Any changes will be announced in class prior to going into effect.
TENTATIVE COURSE SCHEDULE
Note: For each chapter, in addition to the exercises in the book, you should complete the on-line exercises at
2/4: Introduction to the Course and Syllabus
2/6: The characteristics of good and bad thinking; Bassham, pages 1-18 and http://cnr.berkeley.edu/ucce50/ag-labor/7article/article35.htm
Exercises: 1.1-1.3 and on-line practice quizzes for chapter 1.
2/11 NO CLASS - LABOR DAY
2/13: Arguments and indicators; Bassham Chapter 2, pages 30-41 for next class;
2/18: NO CLASS -- PRESIDENT'S DAY
2/20: Exercises 2.1 and 2.2 I and online practice quizzes for chapter 2.
2/27: Finish chapter 2
2/27: TEST 1
9/24: Language: Vagueness, Overgenerality and Ambiguity; chapter 4, 4.1 for next class.
9/26: Types of Definitions; 4.2 II and III
10/1: Finish chapter 4.
10/3: Chapter 7, 7.1
10/8: Another look at more complex arguments: drug legalization http://www.fff.org/freedom/0490e.asp
10/10: TEST 2
10/17: Chapter 5, 5.1
10/22: Finish chapter 5
10/24: Chapter 6, 6.1
10/29: Continue chapter 6
10/31: Finish Chapter 6
11/7: TEST 3
11/12: NO CLASS - VETERANS' DAY
11/14: Chapter 3, 3.1-3.2
11/19: deduction3.3; types of deductive and inductive arguments
11/21: 3.4-3.5, I-II; validity and soundness; PAPER DUE
11/26: strength and cogency
11/28: TEST 4
12/3: Chapter 11, 11.1-11.3
12/10: Chapter 15, 15.1-2
12/12: TEST 5