Phil 100 (MW) S17: Schedule and Syllabus

Note the new date for Exam 1

Philosophy 100: Logic and Critical Thinking

Spring 2017

CRN 49388 MW 9:35-11:00 Location: SB 110

Instructor Information  

Dr. Ian M. Duckles
Office Hours: MWF 8:30-9:30; 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. (FT) AA/AS; CSU; UC.

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.

Course 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.

Requisites and Advisories: Advisory: ENGL 101 with a grade of "C" or better, or equivalent or Assessment Skill Level R6/W6; or ENGL 105 with a grade of "C" or better, or equivalent or Assessment Skill Level R6/W6.

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. Students should check the course website (this one) regularly. The schedule uses the following abbreviations:

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

Week 1: Introduction

Monday, January 30: Introduction (ISD 11-16)

Wednesday, February 1: Language (ISD 19-37)

Week 2: Language

February 6: Language (ISD 38-49)
Homework Due: Find an example of each of the five functions of language; an example of a euphemism, a dysphemism, and vagueness. 

February 8: Language Continued
Homework Due: Find an example of five different deceptive features of language that we discussed in class. They were: equivocation, amphibology, accentuation, eduction, weasel words, and jargon. 

Week 3: Symbolic Logic

February 13: Syllogisms (ISD 49-54)
Homework Due: Find an example of each of the four functions of definitions, and an example of each of the three ways to define. 

February 15: Symbolic Logic (Materials Available Online)
Homework Due: 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

February 20: NO CLASS!

February 22: Symbolic Logic (Materials Available Online)
Homework Due: Symbolic Logic 1 PDF: Problem Set A #'s 6-10; Problem Set B #'s 21-25.

Week 5: Symbolic Logic

February 27: Symbolic Logic Continued

March 1: Symbolic Logic Continued
Homework Due: Symbolic Logic 2 PDF: Problem Set A, #'s 16-25.

Week 6: Symbolic Logic

March 6: Symbolic Logic Continued
Homework Due: Symbolic Logic 4 PDF, Problem Set B, #'s 1, 3, 5, 7, 9. 

March 8: Review for Exam

Week 7: Exam and Fallacies

March 13: FIRST EXAM

March 15: Formal Fallacies (ISD 55-58)

Week 8: Personal Experience

March 20: Informal Fallacies (ISD 59-85)
Homework Due: Find examples of five of the fallacies that we discussed in class today. 

March 22: Personal Experience (ISD 171-196)
Homework Due: Find examples of five of the fallacies that we discussed in class today.


March 27: NO CLASS!!

March 29: NO CLASS!!

Week 10: Personal Experience

April 3: Personal Experience (ISD 196-222)

April 5: Personal Experience
Homework Due: Find examples of two optical or auditory illusions and bring them to class. Try and find an explanation of the illusion. 

Week 11: Science

April 10: Empirical Science (ISD 223-242)

April 12: Empirical Science (ISD 242-266)

Week 12: Science

April 17: Empirical Science Continued
Homework Due: Find an example of some late-night infomercial style product and bring a description of it to class. 

April 19: Empirical Science Continued, Introduction of Paper Topic

Week 13: Exam

April 24: Review for Exam

April 26: EXAM 2

Week 14: Evolution and ID

May 1: Class will meet outside the LRC for the MayDay Teach-In. Come find me to sign in (I will be close to the stage).

May 3: "On Bullshit" (OB 1-30)
Homework Due: Select your topic for the essay. 

Week 15: Bullshit

May 8: "On Bullshit" Continued (OB 31-67)

May 10: In-class peer editing. Bring two copies of a draft of your essay to class; Introduction to the Media (ISD 267-276)

Week 16: The Media

May 15: The Propaganda Model of Media (ISD 277-290)

May 17: Media Continued (ISD 290-306), Final Paper Due

Week 17: The Media

May 22: Review for Final

May 24: 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 and Pre-Writing: 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 drop all classes in which he/she is no longer attending. It is the instructor’s discretion to withdraw a student after the add/drop deadline (April 14) due to excessive absences. Students who remain enrolled in a class beyond the published withdrawal deadline, as stated in the class schedule, will receive an evaluative letter grade in the class.

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 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 academic accommodations should discuss options with their professors during the first two weeks of class. You should also contact DSPS. DSPS can be found at or they can be contacted by phone at 619-388-2780.

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!
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