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Introduction to Logic

TAMUCC Introduction to Logic Don Berkich
Philosophy Syllabus

Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi

PHIL 2303.001 

INTRODUCTION TO LOGIC AND CRITICAL THINKING

MW 2:30 – 3:45

CI 126

http://philosophy.tamucc.edu

 

Professor:

Don Berkich, Ph.D.

Office: FC-283

Hours: TR 9:00 - 11:00, 3:00 - 5:00, and by appointment

Office#: 3976 (do not leave a message, send email instead)

Home#: 852-1514 (never after 9:00 p.m.)

Email: berkich@gmail.com

Web: http://philosophy.tamucc.edu/berkich

Course Description:

This is a first course in that most fundamental of all disciplines, logic. It is fundamental because it is the careful study of arguments and every discipline, whether it be History, Mathematics, Psychology, Biology, or what have you, depends on argument. So unlike any other course, in this course we will not be concerned with using arguments. Rather, we will take arguments themselves to be our subject. As we develop a special vocabulary to use in talking about arguments, we will study tools for distinguishing good arguments from bad. Make no mistake: Mastering these tools will take hard work, but your ability to use them will set you well ahead of your peers in nearly any academic or career endeavor. Indeed, so much is at stake that it is no exaggeration to say that this course more than any other deserves your best effort.

Topic Schedule:

Recognizing Arguments

The Language of Arguments

The Uses of Language

Tools for Close Analysis

Classical Logic

Propositional Logic

Fallacies

Induction and Probability

Tools for Deep Analysis

Political Analysis

Legal Analysis

Scientific Analysis

Moral Analysis

Texts:

Selections from various sources, handouts, and notes will be provided by the professor as needed.

 

Student Learning Outcomes:*

Students will

  1. Learn the names of at least three valid argument forms--e.g., Disjunctive Syllogism, Modus Ponens, and the Reductio ad Absurdum.

  2. Learn the names of at least three important fallacies--e.g., Petitio Principii, Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc, Ad Hominem.

*A requirement of the University for accreditation purposes. Derived from feeble but well-intentioned research in educational theory and used as the basis for a pre- and post-test in a facile attempt to demonstrate success in teaching and learning. Presupposes that human understanding, discovery, and knowledge is to be poured into a mind like oil into an engine--SLO's are the marks on the dipstick. Not to be taken seriously by any sentient being capable of learning and critical analysis. An embarrassing academic fad and an affront to the towering intellects whose investigations we have the privilege of pursuing this semester.

Requirements:

Problem Sets:

Problem sets will be assigned and due approximately every week. All but the student's ten best scoring problem sets will be dropped.

Midterm Examination:

There will be an in-class midterm examination Wednesday, March 10. Structure and content to be announced.

Final Examination:

There will be an in-class final examination at the scheduled time. Structure and content to be announced.

Portfolio:

Due the same day as the final examination, the student is responsible for submitting a comprehensive portfolio of all their work during the semester, including lecture notes, corrected problem sets, a corrected midterm examination, and topic summaries.

Participation:

Students should be prepared to contribute to class discussion, solve problems with the class, and be actively engaged in helping others solve problems.

Attendance:

Attendance is not mandatory, but it is strongly recommended. See below.

Policies:

The professor assumes that students enrolled in this course are sincere student-scholars. That is, the professor will treat them with the respect due scholars, and, as scholars, they shall do their best to live up to the standards of scholars. To wit,

Preparation:

Scholars carefully read assignments in advance of class, take notes on their reading, explore specific issues in discussion with fellow scholars, and follow-up class by re-reading portions of the required readings and exploring suggested readings.

Participation: 

Scholars are eager to respectfully, openly, and critically discuss arguments and issues raised by the readings. Scholars are adept at following a line of reasoning wherever it may lead. Most importantly, scholars welcome the insights and criticisms of their peers: A scholar understands that it is possible to entertain a proposition without believing it, just as it is possible to present an argument without personally endorsing the argument. Scholars enjoy vigorous deliberations and are always careful to treat fellow scholars with patience and good humor.

Assignments:

Scholars fully immerse themselves in assignments and never assume that an assignment is only legitimate if it will be covered on a test. Scholars are naturally curious and see every assignment as an opportunity to explore new issues, see old issues in new light, and hone their growing skills.

Cheating:

Scholars are very careful to give proper credit and maintain the highest standards of scholarly conduct. Thus, subject to university guidelines, any instance of cheating (including plagiarism) will be vigorously prosecuted.

Attendance:

Scholars always attend class barring serious injury, illness, or disaster. Scholars view class-time as rare and valuable for the thought it evokes and the opportunities it presents. Scholars arrive early for class and never leave class early without obtaining prior approval from the professor. Scholars who miss class are responsible for obtaining class-notes, doing the readings, and fully answering any exam questions derived from class discussion. Make-up reading quizzes will be provided upon request, although the question asked may not be the question chosen in class.

Grading Formula:

There are 1000 points possible as follows:

Problem Sets: scaled to 50 points each

Midterm Examination: 100 points

Final Examination: 200 points

Portfolio: 200 points

Total Points = sum of the best ten problem sets + midterm examination + final examination + portfolio

Course Grade is determined by the following scale:

A 900-1000

B 800 - 899

C 700 - 799

D 600 - 699

F 000 - 599

Additional Notes:

Any change in the above will be announced in class. No change will be made which would be detrimental to the student's grade.

This syllabus is not authoritative. That is, the syllabus on the course website supersedes this syllabus wherever they differ. The professor and the students are only responsible for the syllabus as it appears in its entirety on the website, including the schedule of topics and readings.

Any student missing a due date must provide a documented, acceptable reason according to university guidelines. Students with a proper excuse for missing a due date will be given a reasonable extension.

Students without a proper excuse for missing a due date will lose 20 points per day after the due date.

Required University Note to Students with Disabilities: Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act in making reasonable accommodations for qualified students with disabilities. If you suspect that you may have a disability (physical impairment, learning disability, psychiatric disability, etc.), please contact the Services for Students with Disabilities Office, located in Driftwood 101, at 825-5816. If you need disability accommodations in this class, please see me as soon as possible.

Required College of Liberal Arts Note on Academic Advising: The College of Liberal Arts requires that students meet with an Academic Advisor as soon as they are ready to declare a major. The Academic Advisor will set up a degree plan, which must be signed by the student, a faculty mentor, and the department chair. The College's Academic Advising Center is located in Driftwood 203E, and can be reached at 825-3466.

Required University Note on the Grade Appeal Process: As stated in University Rule 13.02.99.C2, Student Grade Appeals, a student who believes that he or she has not been held to appropriate academic standards as outlined in the class syllabus, equitable evaluation procedures, or appropriate grading, may appeal the final grade given in the course. The burden of proof is upon the student to demonstrate the appropriateness of the appeal. A student with a complaint about a grade is encouraged to first discuss the matter with the instructor. For complete details, including the responsibilities of the parties involved in the process and the number of days allowed for completing the steps in the process, see University Rule 13.02.99.C2, Student Grade Appeals, and University Procedure 13.02.99.C2.01, Student Grade Appeal Procedures. These documents are accessible through the University Rules Web site at http://www.tamucc.edu/provost/university_rules/index.html. For assistance and/or guidance in the grade appeal process, students may contact the Office of Student Affairs.

By accepting this syllabus the student indicates that the syllabus has been read, all requirements are understood, and all policies are acknowledged.