Phil 100 (TTH) S17: Schedule and Syllabus

Philosophy 100: Logic and Critical Thinking

Spring 2017

Section 49327    TTH 8:00-9:25    SB-213


Instructor Information  

Dr. Ian M. Duckles
Office Hours: MWF 8:30-9:30; TTH 10:00-11:00
Office: SB-311H
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 below 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

Tuesday, January 31: Introduction (ISD 11-16)

Thursday, February 2: Language (ISD 19-37)
Homework Due: What are the reasons (there are three) our author gives for writing the textbook?

Week 2: Language

February 7: 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 9: 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 14: 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 16: Symbolic Logic (Materials Available Online)

Week 4: Symbolic Logic

February 21: Symbolic Logic (Materials Available Online)
Homework Due: Symbolic Logic 1 PDF: Problem Set B #'s 6-15.

February 23: Symbolic Logic (Materials Available Online)
Homework Due: Symbolic Logic 2 PDF: Problem Set B, symbolize #'s 6-15.

Week 5: Symbolic Logic

February 28: Symbolic Logic Continued
Homework Due: Draw up truth tables for problems #'s 6-10 from the previous homework. 

March 2: Symbolic Logic Continued
Homework Due: Symbolic Logic 4 PDF, Problem Set B, #'s 1, 3, 5, 7, 9.

Week 6: Exam

March 7: Review for Exam


Week 7: Fallacies

March 14: Formal Fallacies (ISD 55-58)

March 16: Informal Fallacies (ISD 59-85)
Homework Due: Find examples of five of the fallacies we discussed in class today. 

Week 8: Personal Experience

March 21: Personal Experience (ISD 171-196)
Homework Due: Find examples of five of the fallacies we discussed in class today.  

March 23: Personal Experience (ISD 196-222) 
Homework Due: Find examples of five of the fallacies we discussed in class today.  


March 28: NO CLASS!!

March 30: NO CLASS!!

Week 10: Science

April 4: Empirical Science (ISD 223-242)

April 6: Empirical Science (ISD 242-266)

Week 11: Science

April 11: Empirical Science Continued

April 13: Empirical Science Continued; Introduction of Paper Topic

Week 12: Science

April 18: Empirical Science Continued
Homework Due: Find a late-night infomercial style product. What does it claim to be able to do? How would you go about testing the claims of this product? 

April 20: Empirical Science Continued

Week 13: Exam

April 25: Review for Exam

April 27:  EXAM 2

Week 14: Bullshit

May 2: "On Bullshit" (OB 1-30).

May 4: Continue "On Bullshit" (OB 31-67)
Homework Due: Bring a copy of your topic for the paper to class.

Week 15: The Media

May 9: Introduction (ISD 267-276), The Propaganda Model of Media (ISD 277-290)
Homework Due: Why do you think there is so much bullshit? What motivates a person to engage in bullshit? 

May 11: In-class peer editing. Bring two copies of a draft of your essay to class. Media Continued (ISD 290-306)

Week 16: The Media

May 16: Media Continued 

May 18: Media Continued (Final Paper Due)

Week 17: The Media

May 23: Review for Final

May 25: 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/WithdrawIt 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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