PHILOSOPHY 205: Critical Thinking
- Fall Semester, 1998
- Dr. Scott Kimbrough
- Office Hours: W 1:30-3:00, TH 2:00-3:30 or by appointment
- Office: Council 132
- Phone: 745-7118
- Direct questions and comments to my
Last updated 10/21/98
Resources and Announcements
- The publisher of the textbook maintains a support site with practice problems, explanations, and other helpful materials.
Your password to access the site is located on the inside back cover of your main textbook.
Everyone knows how to think. You can't very well avoid it, as you are constantly bombarded with information and practical problems that demand some reaction and decision on your part. Nevertheless, critical thinking is a skill that, like other skills, can be sharpened through practice and improved technique. In this class, we learn how to analyze, evaluate, and construct arguments, both in ordinary speech and in formal logical systems. Our emphasis will be on developing reasoning skills that may be applied to any subject matter, from abstruse academic topics to concerns of daily life. Upon completing this course, you should be better able to assess the weight of arguments intended to sway your thought and action, to make more compelling arguments for your own views, and to apply formal logical systems to arguments in ordinary English.
- D. Kelley: The Art of Reasoning (3rd Edition), W.W. Norton, 1998.
- Hicks & Kelley: Readings for Logical Analysis (2nd Edition), W.W. Norton, 1998.
- Homework: There will be weekly graded homework assignments, including some (at most 3) short (one to two page) written assignments. Your homework average will constitute 25% of your grade for the course. As additional ungraded homework to help prepare you for the exams, I also recommend the practice quizzes in the textbook (answers in the back of the book). You are permitted to work with (not copy from) fellow students on the homework. But keep in mind that excessive reliance on your peers will adversely affect your performance on the exams, which account for 75% of your grade.
- Exams: Two exams, each worth 20% of your grade, will be given. The first exam will test material covered prior to the exam, and the second exam will test material covered after the first exam. The exam dates are subject to change, but are tentatively scheduled on October 8th and November 19th.
- Final Exam: The final exam is comprehensive, but with added emphasis on the material covered after the second exam. The final exam accounts for 35% of your grade. The exam is scheduled on Thursday, December 10th, from 8-11am.
- Participation and Attendance: Although class participation does not figure formally in your grade, attendance and participation in discussions is expected. Some of the homework assignments will likely require participation in class and/or on the course web page. Extra credit quizzes are also given in class, and no make-up quizzes will be available. Finally, the formal logic portion of the course is very difficult, and will be almost impossible to pass for those who do not attend class.
A total of 5 extra credit pop quizzes will be given during the semester. These brief five to ten minute quizzes test your mastery of material from new readings and/or recent lectures. Extra credit will be awarded as follows: each quiz score of 100% adds one point to your final average; and each quiz score of 85% or better adds one-half point to your final average. No extra credit will be awarded for quizzes scoring less than 85%. There is no penalty for missing and/or underachieving on an extra credit quiz.
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