Course Description

01:730:101 Logic, Reasoning, and Persuasion

  • Instructor: Derstine, Janelle | Hutchens, Ben | Skolits, Wes
  • Description:

    01 (J. Kalef) This course is an introduction to critical thinking -- the art of careful reasoning. Students will learn to identify and analyze arguments and to avoid typical errors in thinking.

    Readings will come from Bruce Waller's text, 'Critical Thinking: Consider the Verdict', 6th Edition. All students will need access to a paper copy of the text.

    02 (J. Derstine) An argument is a series of statements, one set of which (the premises) is intended to provide either logically conclusive or strong support for another statement (the conclusion). In this course, we will study of the logical structure of argumentation in ordinary language, with an emphasis on the relation of logic to practical (and controversial) affairs in politics, criminal justice, religion and ethics. We will also examine and learn to spot traditional informal fallacies— e.g., “begging the question”— which although formally valid, are still instances of bad reasoning. Discussions explore the nature of validity, truth, meaning, and evidence in relation to the evaluation of arguments.

    03 (B. Hutchens) This course is a general introduction to the basic mechanics of critical thinking, understood to mean the systematic evaluation and formulation of beliefs by rational standards. We will learn about the important roles critical thinking plays in formulating viable study habits and in evaluating problems one encounters outside the classroom. We will master an understanding of deductions, in respect of their soundness and validity, as well as inductions, in terms of their cogency, strength and general role in empirical experience and scientific experimentation. Sometime will be spent addressing the difference between formal and informal fallacies.

    A great deal of the semester will be spent working with propositional logic (translation, truth tabling, and enthymemes) and categorical logic (translation, squares of opposition, Venn diagramming).

    90, 91 (W. Skolits) This course aims to make you a more virtuous thinker. Toward this end, you shall learn the basics of formal logic and informal fallacies, how to identify and develop the intellectual virtues (open-mindedness, intellectual fairness, etc.), and finally, how to evaluate arguments encountered in academic philosophy and in everyday life.

  • Credits: 3
  • Sample Syllabus
  • Syllabus Disclaimer: The information on this syllabus is subject to change. For up-to-date course information, please refer to the syllabus on your course site (e.g. Canvas) on the first day of class.