Phil 100 F14: Schedule and Syllabus

Philosophy 100: Logic and Critical Thinking

Fall 2014

CRN 82737 MW 8-9:25 Location: MV-06
On 9/29 class will permanently relocate to SB-212
The date for the Second Exam has been pushed back one week.

Instructor Information  

Dr. Ian M. Duckles
Office Hours: By appointment

Course Description: This 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: Introduction

Monday, August 18: Introduction (ISD 11-16)

Wednesday, August 20: Language (ISD 19-37)

Homework: Find an example of each of the five functions of language. Find three pairs of words that have the same denotation but different connotations.

Week 2: Language

August 25:Language (ISD 38-49)

Homework: Find examples of five different deceptive features of language we discussed in class today (Euphemism, Dysphemism, Vagueness, Equivocation, Amphibology, Accentuation, Weasel Words, Jargon)

August 27: Language Continued

Homework: Find examples to illustrate each of the four functions of definitions as well as the three ways to define.

Week 3: Symbolic Logic

September 1: NO CLASS!! Labor Day

September 3: Syllogisms (ISD 49-54)

Homework: Find examples of the following arguments: (1) A valid argument with one true premise, one false premise and a true conclusion. (2) A valid argument with two true premises and a true conclusion. (3) An invalid argument with two true premises and a true conclusion. (4) A strong argument with one true premise, one false premise and a true conclusion. (5) A strong argument with two true premises and a true conclusion. (6) A weak argument with two true premises and a true conclusion.

Week 4: Symbolic Logic

September 8: Symbolic Logic (Materials Available Online)

Homework: Symbolic Logic I: Problem Set A: #'s 21-25; Problem Set B #'s 21-25.

September 10: Symbolic Logic (Materials Available Online)

Homework: Symbolic Logic II: Problem Set A, #'s 21-25.

Week 5: Symbolic Logic

September 15: Symbolic Logic Continued

Homework: Symbolic Logic IV: Problem Set B, #'s 1,3,5,7,9.

September 17: Symbolic Logic Continued

Week 6: Exam

September 22: Review for Exam

September 24: FIRST EXAM

Week 7: Fallacies

September 29: Formal Fallacies (ISD 55-58); Class will permanently relocate to SB-212
Homework: Find examples of five of the fallacies we discussed in class today.

October 1: Informal Fallacies (ISD 59-85)
Homework: Find examples of five of the fallacies we discussed in class today.

Week 8: Personal Experience

October 6: Personal Experience (ISD 171-196)
Homework: Find examples of five of the fallacies we discussed in class today.

October 8: Personal Experience (ISD 196-222)
Homework: Find examples of two optical illusions. 

Week 9: Personal Experience

October 13: Personal Experience

October 15: Personal Experience

Week 10: Science

October 20: Empirical Science (ISD 223-242)
Homework: Find an example of some late-night infomercial style product. If possible it should be an actual thing not a process. 

October 22: Empirical Science (ISD 242-266)

Week 11: Science

October 27: Review for Exam Empirical Science Continued

October 29: EXAM 2 Empirical Science Continued, Introduction of Paper Topic

Week 12: Exam

November 3: Review for Exam

November 5: Continue and Discuss Film EXAM 2

Week 13: Evolution and Intelligent Design

November 10: Evolution and Intelligent Design

November 12: Evolution and Intelligent Design; NO CLASS Please email me your Paper Topic.

Week 14: Bullshit

November 17: "On Bullshit" (OB 1-30)

November 19: In-class peer editing. Bring two copies of a draft of your essay to class. Continue "On Bullshit" (OB 31-67)

Week 15: Thanksgiving

November 24: NO CLASS!! Thanksgiving

November 26: NO CLASS!! Thanksgiving

Week 16: The Media

December 1: Introduction (ISD 267-276), The Propaganda Model of Media (ISD 277-290)

December 3: Media Continued (ISD 290-306) (Final Paper Due)

Week 17: The Media

December 8: Media Continued 

December 10: Media Continued, Review for Final

Week 18: Final

December 15: Final Exam

: 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: 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 in the semester.
  • 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 material from previous classes. 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 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.

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TIPS FOR SUCCESS IN THIS COURSE (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 time outside of class working on class material, doing readings, homework, preparing for quizzes and exams, etc.
  6. Have confidence in your ability to do the work.
  7. Ask questions if you don't understand something.
  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.