Phil 100 F12 12:45: Schedule and Syllabus

Philosophy 100: Logic and Critical Thinking

Fall 2012

CRN 72011 MW 12:45-2:10 PM Location: H-312

Instructor Information  

Dr. Ian M. Duckles
Office Hours: MW 10:00-11:00 in H-302

Course DescriptionThis course explores the relationship of communications and critical thinking with a focus on good reasoning and the impediments to its mastery. This course emphasizes the development of skills in logical processes including familiarity with the more common fallacies. This course is designed for students learning to apply principles of critical thinking to the practical problems of everyday life.

Course Objective: Students will learn the basic elements of critical thinking with a particular focus on logical fallacies and then will learn to apply these tools to real world problems and issues.

Textbooks: There are two texts required for this class:

  • Baillargeon, Normand. A Short Course in Intellectual Self-Defense. Seven Stories Press: 2007.
  • Frankfurt, Harry G. On Bullshit. Princeton University Press: 2005.
Reading assignments can be found on the schedule.

Schedule: (topics and important dates included): Homework will be due daily and assignments will be announced in class. Do not be concerned if we fall ahead or behind on this schedule. The most important goal is that everyone understand the concepts and problems. This schedule is subject to change. All changes will be announced in class and posted on the course website. The schedule uses the following abbreviations:

  • ISD for A Short Course in Intellectual Self-Defense
  • OB for On Bullshit

Week 1: Introductions

Monday, August 20: Introduction (ISD 11-16)

Wednesday, August 22: Language (ISD 19-37)
Homework: Find examples of each of the five functions of language.

Week 2: Language

August 27: Language (ISD 38-49)
Homework: Find examples that illustrate each of the vocabulary words we discussed in class.

August 29: Syllogisms (ISD 49-54)
Homework: Find an example of weasel words, jargon and the four types of definitions discussed in class.

Week 3: Symbolic Logic

September 3: NO CLASS!!

September 5: Symbolic Logic (Material Available Online)
Homework: Find examples of each of the three ways to define. Then find examples of the following types of arguments: (a) an argument that is valid but not sound, (b) an argument that is invalid but which has a true conclusion, (c) an argument that is strong but not cogent, (d) an argument that is weak but which has a true conclusion.

Week 4: Symbolic Logic

September 10: Symbolic Logic
Homework: Symbolic Logic I, exercise set B, #'s 11-25.

September 12: Symbolic Logic
Homework: Symbolic Logic II, Exercise set B, symbolize #'s 1-15, then draw up truth tables for 11-15.

Week 5: Symbolic Logic

September 17: Symbolic Logic Continued
Homework: Symbolic Logic IV; Exercise Set B, #'s 1-10 odd.

September 19: Symbolic Logic Continued

Week 6: Exam

September 24: Review for Exam

September 26: FIRST EXAM

Week 7: Fallacies

October 1: Formal Fallacies (ISD 55-58)

October 3: Informal Fallacies (ISD 59-85)
Homework: Find examples of five different fallacies we have discussed in class.

Week 8: Bullshit

October 8: On Bullshit (OB 1-30)
Homework: Find an example of each of the fallacies we discussed in class today.

October 10: On Bullshit (OB 31-67)

Week 9: Personal Experience

October 15: On the Justification of Belief: Personal Experience (ISD 171-196)

October 17: On the Justification of Belief: Personal Experience (ISD 196-222)

Week 10: Personal Experience

October 22: Personal Experience Continued

October 24: Personal Experience Continued

Week 11: Exam

October 29: Review for Exam

October 31: SECOND EXAM

Week 12: Science and Evolution

November 5: Introduction of Paper Topic; Watch Film in Class

November 7: Continue Film

Week 13: Evolution and ID

November 12: NO CLASS!!

November 14: On the Justification of Belief: Empirical Science (ISD 223-242)

Week 14: Thanksgiving Break!!

November 19: NO CLASS!!

November 21: NO CLASS!!

Week 15: Evolution and ID

November 26: On the Justification of Belief: Empirical Science (ISD 242-266)

November 28: Evolution and Intelligent Design
Homework: Find examples of two front groups. What are these groups fronts for?

Week 16: The Media

December 3: Evolution and Intelligent Design

December 5: The Propaganda Model of Media (ISD 267-290)

Week 17: The Media

December 10: In-Class Peer Editing (Bring two copies of your rough draft to class)

December 12:  Review for Final

Week 18: Final

December 17: FINAL EXAM (Final Paper Due)

: Your grade in the course will be based on your performance on the following assignments:

  • 20% Exam 1
  • 20% Exam 2
  • 20% Final Exam
  • 10% Final Paper: This due the last day of class. Though only worth 10% of your grade in the course, failure to complete this assignment or the associated pre-writing will result in an F in the course. More information on this assignment will be provided later.
  • 10% Homework: This is due at the start of the class for which it is assigned. Late assignments will not be accepted.
  • 20% Pop Quizzes: These will be given at the start of class and will cover the previous classes material. They cannot be made-up if missed. 
Grade Scale:

    ≥ 90 = A
    ≥ 80 = B
    ≥ 70 = C
    ≥ 60 = D
    < 60 = F

Student Responsibility to Drop/Withdraw
: It is the student’s responsibility to officially add, drop, or withdraw from the course stated in the class schedule. Failure to do so can result in a failing grade.

Attendance: During the first two weeks of class, students will be dropped for any unexcused absence. Starting during the third week, students may be dropped for missing two classes. In addition, students who arrive unreasonably late or leave unreasonably early will be marked absent.

Professionalism: It is assumed that students will conduct themselves in a professional manner with a positive attitude. An open mind is one of the most important tools required for success in academia. If a student is negative and feels as is there is nothing of value to be gained by the college experience or this course, he or she will not do well in this course.

Academic Integrity and Conduct: Mesa College students are bound by the Student Code of Conduct, Policy 3100.  In this course, cheating, plagiarism, disruptions of instructional activity, fraud and/or lying will result in, at a minimum, a grade of “F” for the assignment/test with no make up permitted.  Any of these infractions may result in an “F” for the course as well and formal disciplinary action by the Dean of Student Affairs as described in the code (as published in the catalog or online).

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities: Students with disabilities who may need accommodations in this class are encouraged to notify the instructor and DSPS. DSPS can be found at or they can be contacted by phone at 619-388-2780.

Tips for Success (Thanks to Professor June Yang):

  1. Be optimistic about your ability to learn from the textbook, the instructor, and each other.
  2. Do all homework. It will be collected every time, and spot-checked.
  3. Do all assigned reading.
  4. If you find you fall behind in your understanding, contact the instructor.
  5. Be prepared to spend at least two hours per hour spent in class in order to master this material. If you do not, you probably will not receive a grade of C or better.
  6. Have confidence in your ability to do the work.
  7. Use all resources at your disposal.
  8. Remember that you are gifted with more education and intelligence than many persons on this planet. If you try, you are sure to get it, or at least most of it!
  9. Remember that we are all here to learn.
  10. Remember that you are being trained, or acquiring a skill. Studying, like anything else, is a craft, i.e. an activity. No one is born a good student; we must all transform ourselves into excellent students.