Phil 100 F16 TR: Schedule and Syllabus

Philosophy 100: Logic and Critical Thinking

Fall 2016

CRN 68057 TR 8:00-9:25 Location: SB 211

Instructor Information  

Dr. Ian M. Duckles
Office Hours: MW 12:30-2:00, TTH 10:00-11:00
Office: SB 311-H
Phone: 619-388-2294

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.

Student Learning Outcomes:
  1. Critical Thinking: Think critically in reading, writing, and/or speaking about communication, reasoning, and logical processes, thereby identifying problems, theses, arguments, evidence and conclusions.
  2. Communication: Write or speak about communication, reasoning, and logical processes, thereby addressing problems, formulating theses, making arguments, analyzing and weighing evidence, and deriving conclusions.
  3. Personal Actions and Civic Responsibilities: Demonstrate an ability to understand one's role in society, take responsibility for one's own actions, and make ethical decisions in complex situations.

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

Tuesday, August 23: Introduction (ISD 11-16)

Thursday, August 25: Language (ISD 19-37)

Week 2: Language

August 30:Language (ISD 38-49)
Homework Due: Find an example of each of the five functions of language. 

September 1: Language Continued
Homework Due: Find examples of each of the deceptive features of language we discussed in class. 

Week 3: Symbolic Logic

September 6: Syllogisms (ISD 49-54)
Homework Due: Find an example of weasel words and jargon; find examples of each of the four types or functions of definitions. 

September 8: Symbolic Logic (Materials Available Online)
Homework Due: Find an example of each of the three ways to define.

Week 4: Symbolic Logic

September 13: Symbolic Logic (Materials Available Online)
Homework Due: Find an example of each of the three types of inductive arguments we discussed in class. 

September 15: Symbolic Logic Continued
Homework Due: Symbolic Logic 2, Problem Set A #'s 16-20. 

Week 5: Symbolic Logic

September 20: Symbolic Logic Continued
Homework Due: Symbolic Logic 4, Problem Set B #'s 2, 4, 6, 8, 10. 

September 22: Review for Exam

Week 6: Exam

September 27: FIRST EXAM

September 29: Formal Fallacies (ISD 55-58)

Week 7: Fallacies

October 4: Informal Fallacies (ISD 59-85)
Homework Due: Find examples of five of the fallacies we discussed in class. 

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

Week 8: Personal Experience

October 11: Personal Experience (ISD 196-222)
Homework Due: Find examples of five of the fallacies we discussed in class. 

October 13: Personal Experience
Homework Due: Find examples of two optical illusions. Try to find an explanation for those illusions as well. 

Week 9: Personal Experience

October 18: Personal Experience

October 20: Empirical Science (ISD 223-242)

Week 10: Science

October 25: Empirical Science (ISD 242-266)Introduction of Paper Topic

October 27: Empirical Science Continued
Homework Due: Find an example of a late-night, infomercial style product. Then come up with an experiment to test the claims of that product. Try to use as many of the research methodologies as possible. Think big and don't worry about ethical or financial constraints. 

Week 11: Science

November 1: Empirical Science Continued

November 3: Review for Exam

Week 12: Exam

November 8: EXAM 2

November 10: NO CLASS!!

Week 13: Evolution and ID

November 15: Evolution and Intelligent Design, Topic for paper Due

November 17: Evolution and Intelligent Design Continued

Week 14: Thanksgiving

November 22: NO CLASS!! Thanksgiving

November 24: NO CLASS!! Thanksgiving

Week 15: Bullshit

November 29: "On Bullshit" (OB 1-30)

December 1: In-class peer editing. Bring two copies of a draft of your essay to class.

Week 16: The Media

December 6: Introduction (ISD 267-276), The Propaganda Model of Media (ISD 277-290)
Homework Due: Find an example of a Front Group. What does that group promote? Who is behind that group?

December 8: Media Continued (ISD 290-306), Final Paper Due

Week 17: The Media

December 13:  Media Continued, Review for 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.

VotingIf you are not registered to vote, please register online today: choose the vote-by-mail option.

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 and all the readings. The homework will be collected every time, and spot-checked, and the readings will help you understand the course material.
  3. Be prepared to spend time outside of class working on class material, doing readings, homework, preparing for quizzes and exams, etc.
  4. Ask questions if you don't understand something.
  5. 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!