Philosophy 125 Summer 2009: Syllabus and Schedule

PHILOSOPHY 125: Critical Thinking
Summer 2009
Section 9221 TTH 9:00-12:40    Location: F 710

INSTRUCTOR: Dr. Ian Duckles
          Office Hours: By Appointment
          Course Web Site:

TEXTBOOK: Critical Thinking, 9th Edition. Brooke Noel Moore & Richard Parker. McGraw-Hill, 2009. (This text is required. We will use it in class daily. Students may also use the 8th Edition of this text)

COURSE DESCRIPTION: “Introduction to critical thinking with emphasis on analyzing and constructing both inductive and deductive arguments. Critical reasoning will be applied to a variety of situations such as making sound decisions, evaluating claims and assertions, avoiding fallacious reasoning, etc.” (Cuyamaca College Catalogue 2008-2009).

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 CALENDAR (topics and important dates included):
(Homework will be due daily and assignments will be announced in class and posted online. 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).

Week 1:   June 9: Syllabus, Policies, Introductions. Chapter 1: Critical Thinking Basics.
                    Have Read: pp. 1-22.
                June 11: Chapter 2: Two Kinds of Reasoning.
                    Have Read: pp. 41-55.
Week 2:  June 16: Chapter 3: Clear Thinking, Critical Thinking, and Clear Writing
                    Have Read: pp. 69-92
                June 18: First Midterm (20% of Grade)
Week 3:  June 23: Chapter 4: Credibility
                    Have Read: pp. 105-135

                June 25: Chapter 9: Deductive Arguments
                    Have Read: pp. 297-314

Week 4:    June 30: Continue Deductive Arguments

                  July 2: Second Midterm (20% of Grade)
Week 5: July 7: Chapter 5 and 6: Persuasion Through Rhetoric/More Rhetorical Devices
                    Have Read: 147-200

                July 9: Chapter 7: More Fallacies
                    Have Read: 211-229
Week 6: July 14: Fallacies and Critical Thinking: A Case Study
                    In Class: Watch and discuss film

              July 16: Final Exam (20% of Grade)

Grading:    20% Midterm Examination 1
                  20% Midterm Examination 2
                  20% Final Examination
                  20% Homework. Homework will be due at the start of the class for which it is assigned. I will not accept late assignments.
                  20% Pop Quizzes. These will be given almost daily at the start of class; they cannot be made up if missed.

A: 90-100 %
B: 80-89 %
C: 70-79 %
D: 60-69 %
F:  <60 %

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.

Class Attendance: A student may be disenrolled from the course after one unexcused absences; however, a student will be disenrolled from the course after two unexcused absences without exception. (This count will begin immediately.) ATTENDANCE IS VERY IMPORTANT FOR THIS PARTICULAR COURSE.

Tardiness/Early Departure: If a student arrives unreasonably late or leaves early without notifying the instructor before the event, then that student will be considered absent for that class session.

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.

Student Code of Ethics and Conduct: Students must abide by the Student Code of Conduct available at Students who obstruct the instructor’s ability to convey knowledge, or disrupt their fellow students’ ability to learn, will be dealt with under the terms delineated in the Student Code of Conduct. Such dealings may include, but are not limited to, warnings, written reprimands, disciplinary probation, instructor-initiated suspensions, terminations of financial aid, short or long-term suspensions from campus, and temporary or permanent expulsions. These consequences are serious and can easily be avoided.

Examples of disruptive activities that will not be tolerated are: repeated cell phone ringing, repeatedly falling asleep in class, excessive talking, texting, passing of notes, entering and leaving class several times during a session, verbal rudeness directed towards the instructor and/or other students, and non-verbal rudeness directed towards the instructor and/or other students. Finally, ACADEMIC DISHONESTY IS GROUNDS FOR DISMISSAL FROM THE COURSE. If you are unsure of what academic dishonesty is, ask the instructor.

This instructor is charged with maintaining a positive learning experience for all students in this course, and that responsibility is a serious one. Disruptive behaviors will not be tolerated in this course.

TEN 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 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.

Academic IntegrityCheating and plagiarism (using as one’s own ideas, writings or materials of someone else without acknowledgement or permission) can result in any one of a variety of sanctions.  Such penalties may range from an adjusted grade on the particular exam, paper, project, or assignment to a failing grade in the course.  The instructor may also summarily suspend the student for the class meeting when the infraction occurs, as well as the following class meeting.  For further clarification and information on these issues, please consult with your instructor or contact the office of the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs.

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities:  Students with disabilities who may need accommodations in this class are encouraged to notify the instructor and contact Disabled Student Services & Programs (DSP&S) early in the semester so that reasonable accommodations may be implemented as soon as possible. Students may contact DSP&S in person in room A-113, by phone at (619) 660-4239 (voice) or (619) 660-4386 (TTY for deaf), or online at

This course adheres to the policies outlined in the Cuyamaca College catalog. For further information, see Academic Policies stated in the catalog.