PHL 203 : Problems of Philosophy - Logic
Prob Of Philosophy--Logic
Standard letter grades
Contact hours total
Introduction to the study of reasoning and critical thinking. This involves identifying and evaluating deductive and inductive forms, distinguishing validity from truth/soundness, examining informal fallacies and the limits of language, constructing different types of arguments and applying these tools to issues in science, politics, morality and everyday life.
1. Demonstrate the ability to use the specific tools of critical thinking and logic in order to answer the following questions: What is the difference between truth and validity? Which forms of deduction are valid and which are invalid? What are the most common syllogisms and which informal fallacies are most prevalent? How does philosophic inquiry and argument differ from scientific investigation, mathematical proofs or empirical evidence? And, what are some of the limits of logic in particular or language in general? The student will demonstrate an ability to respond to such questions by completing the assigned exercises and writing assignments.
2. Identify premises and conclusions in both formal as well as informal proofs, and demonstrate an awareness of the limits of deductive forms as well as linguistic ambiguities. This can be done by critically reading and analyzing short essays, editorials or articles, and by continuing to distinguish between an argument's form or structure and its content.
3. Recognize the defining constituents of an argument (as opposed to a question, command, etc.) and define or evaluate basic types. For example, how and when are arguments by analogy effective and what are their limits? Also, what are the different kinds of "causal analyses" and how are they used in various contexts?
4. Argue more coherently and cogently, and write more effectively and efficiently. This can be achieved by: 1) completing assigned exercises (which involve constructing arguments of one's own, evaluating the claims of others, drawing and analyzing Venn diagrams, finding examples of fallacious forms of reasoning, etc.); and, 2) writing a term paper which will require one to research an area of controversy (from a list of proposed topics) and present both sides of the debate in addition to defending a position of one's own.
5. Improve critical thinking, reading and writing skills. In particular, the aim here is to distinguish between different kinds of informal fallacies, to recognize the basic psychological impediments to good reasoning, to identify and clarify ambiguities in language, and to show how tools of logic may be applied to issues in science, morality, politics or everyday life.
General education/Related instruction lists
- Discipline Studies/Arts and Letters