PHILOS 206 - Critical Reasoning and Analytical Writing - Chris Blakey
|Course:||Critical Reasoning and Analytical Writing|
Greetings and hello! My name is Chris Blakey. I have been teaching full-time in the Philosophy Department at COC for about 20 years, and I want to welcome you to PHILOS 206/Critical Reasoning and Analytical Writing! It is my belief that PHILOS 206 is one of the most important courses that a college student can take. With all the information that is thrown at us daily from social media, the news, and in conversation with family, friends, and acquaintances, trying to think clearly about it all can be a little overwhelming. This course will help you build reasoning skills that will give you more confidence as you interact with the information and misinformation that we encounter daily. Students find the reading material in this course to be relevant and interesting, and I very much enjoy teaching this course!
This course is not centrally about what to think, but rather about how to think, and how to clearly articulate that thinking in writing. Are you a good critical reasoner? How would you decide? What does it mean to be a good critical thinker? What criteria would you use to determine this? In this class we will learn how to take hold of ideas presented to us, how to understand and organize them, and then how to evaluate them in ways that are helpful and fair. Fundamental to such a skill is having a firm grasp of the concept of an argument. (By “argument” we don’t mean two people yelling at each other. Instead, we mean the practice of putting forward reasons in support of a conclusion.) We will learn how to identify various types of arguments, and to evaluate their components in a helpful, constructive way. You will find this to be a powerful tool as you make your way in the world.
This will also require that we familiarize ourselves with some of the ideas and ways of thinking that are current in today’s world – including common thinking habits encouraged by social media and societal norms today – and central ideas from value theory and moral philosophy. Understanding these things will provide us with the needed context for the development of helpful reasoning strategies.
What to Expect in this Course
This course will take place 100% on-line with no face-to-face class meetings. The course will be taught through Canvas. In order take this class, you must have access to a computer, internet services, and COC e-mail. Communications will occur through announcements, e-mail, and other modalities on Canvas . As with any on-line course, this course will require discipline, organization, reading and participation 3-4 days per week. (If it is an 8-week class, then participation will be significantly increased per week.) Our Canvas course site cannot be accessed until the first day of the semester.
Just as in a face-to-face course, you will need to regularly participate in the course by way of doing assigned readings, taking notes, watching short videos, participating in discussion board activities, doing practice exercises, etc. You should count on at least 5-6 hours per week of prep work for this course (if a 16-week course; twice that for an 8-week course). Exams and quizzes will be taken using Canvas and will have the same format as they would in face-to-face courses. Exams and quizzes will be timed so you will not be able to look up very much in the process of taking them. You will need to spend time studying and preparing for exams. If you are prepared, you will do just fine. You will be expected to pay close attention to due dates and instructions for assignments, and to submit assignments on time.
Types of Assessments
Reasoning Exercises (when we are utilizing A Workbook for Arguments)
Short Weekly Journals (when utilizing the other class texts)
Short Written Argument Analyses
1 Final Exam
Demagoguery and Democracy, by Patricia Roberts-Miller, ISBN: 978-1-61519-408-7
A Workbook for Arguments, by David R. Morrow and Anthony Weston, 3rd Edition, ISBN: 978-1-62466-833-3
Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do?, by Michael Sandel, ISBN: 978-0-374-53250-5
All three of these texts are relatively inexpensive and are available at the COC bookstore (purchase or rental).
Other Relevant Course Information
Please note: Important information for the first day of class. In order to avoid being dropped from the class, you must log in to our Canvas site and complete a very brief introductory discussion forum activity by the end of the first day of the semester, at 11:59 p.m. I will be sending out an email (to your MyCanyons email address) the week before the beginning of the class.
Note also: This is not a complete syllabus, but only an orientation letter. The complete syllabus will be available within Canvas at the start of the semester.
This course can be accessed on the first day of class via Canvas at https://coc.instructure.com. Log into Canvas using your CanyonsID single sign-on:
- CanyonsID Username is your COC student email address (Ex: firstname.lastname@example.org)
- CanyonsID Password is your COC student email password
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Last updated: 08/21/2022 Sub#: 1474