Philosophy 106: Critical Thinking Spring 2013 (Ezio Vailati)
Where to reach me: PH 2212; phone: 3376;
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org;† if you email me, identify yourself as taking this class.†
Homepage: http://www.siue.edu/~evailat .†
Click on "Courses" and then on "Critical Thinking"
to find this very syllabus.
Office Hours: M 11-12, T 5-6, W 5-6, and by appointment if needed.
The objective of this course is to develop the student's ability to identify and evaluate arguments and to apply these skills to some controversial topics.
1. P.J. Hurley, A concise introduction to Logic 11th edition (H).† (Rental Text)
2. Some handouts and material to be downloaded from my homepage.
Week 1 (Jan. 7-9) The basics: arguments and their components.† Reading: H 1.1
Week 2 (Jan. 14-16) The basics: recognizing arguments. Reading: H 1.2.† Quiz 1
Jan. 21 MLK Day.†
Week 3 (Jan. 21-23) The basics: types of arguments and their strength. Reading: H 1.3- 1.4
Week 4 (Jan. 28-30) Logical skills: inferences and conclusions. Reading: download.† Quiz 2
Week 5 (Feb. 4-6) Logical skills: additional facts that strengthen or weaken an argument or a position.† Reading: download
Week 6 (Feb. 11-13) Logical skills: hidden assumptions.† Reading: download.† Quiz 3
Week 7 (Feb. 18-20) Informal fallacies.† Reading: H 3.1-3.2.† Midterm
Week 8 (Feb. 25-27) Informal fallacies.† Reading: H 3.3.† Quiz 4
March 4-9† Spring Break
Week 9 (March 11-13) Informal fallacies.† Reading: 3.4.†
Week 10 (March 18-20) Arguments by analogy.† Reading: 9.1.† Quiz 5
Week 11 (March 25-27) Probability trees and conditional probability.
Week 12 ( April 1-3) Critically thinking about a US Supreme Court decision: Download Roe v. Wade †Quiz 6
Week 13 (April 8-10) Critically thinking and constructing arguments about a controversial issue: the death penalty.† Reading: Download.
Week 15 (April 22-24) Hidden mechanisms of thought: Watch Arielyís lecture on irrationality in decision-making.† Review.†
Course requirements and grades
1) Attendance for the whole duration of each class is mandatory.† Each missed class will produce a loss of 3 points.
2) Six scheduled quizzes, some take-home and some in-class, each worth 10 points. Their dates are given in the course outline.† No make-up quizzes will be given unless in extreme circumstances.
3) Three pop (unannounced) quizzes, each worth 10 points.†
4) A midterm exam, worth 40 points.
5) Participation in the discussion of the topics covered from11/12 to 11/28.† This will be worth 20 points.† You start with 10 points; good participation will produce more points; lack of participation will lose them.
comprehensive final exam worth 50 points.
Take home quizzes and exams may be taken only by those attending at the time.
There are 200 possible points in this class. The correspondence between points and course grades is as follows: 200-180: A; 179-158: B; 157-136: C; 135-115: D; below 115: F. There is no curving of grades.
An A indicates excellence; a B overall competency; a C competency in some areas and poor command in others, or low competence overall; a D a minimally acceptable competence overall; finally, an F indicates an unacceptably low level of competence.
I do not keep a running count of grades because I use points that I eventually turn into grades according to the above scale.† Hereís how to calculate your grade at any time during the course:† let S be the sum of all the possible points up to then; let M be the sum up all the actual points you have; calculate P = (200 * M)/S.† Now use P with the above scale to determine your present grade.† For example, suppose that say just after the midterm you have 60 points.† Since S =70 (assuming no pop quizzes were administered), we have that P = (200 * 60)/70, which is about 171, a high B.† Please, donít come and ask me how you are doing; just do the calculation and find out for yourself.† Take charge.
Cheating of any kind will result in substantial point loss at my discretion depending on the severity of the transgression.† Serious case will be reported to the Dean.† (This means BIG trouble).
Students are responsible for knowing what has been said in class, including announcements.
Texting, chatting, web surfing, or uncivil behavior will not be tolerated.† At my discretion, you may be required to leave the class and will lose 5% of the course grade for every occurrence.† Egregious cases of misconduct shall be reported to the Dean.
A piece of advice
Because much of the material covered in this course involves learning skills, actively doing the in-class exercises is essential.† If in spite of your efforts you are having difficulties, come and see me as soon as possible.