Critical Thinking
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"Go Board (part)" 2006, by Markus Koljonen

PHL 276-01

MARYGROVE COLLEGE

Fall 2011


Course Syllabus

Click here to download your course syllabus.

The syllabus contains all information pertinent to this class except for the detailed course plan, which is maintained on this website so that students may have easier access to the readings, assignments, and other media we will be using throughout the term.

It is your responsibility to read the syllabus thoroughly and to be sure that you understand all of it's provisions. If you do not agree or believe that you cannot comply with any of the terms in the syllabus, you should withdraw from the course immediately.


Detailed Course Plan

IMPORTANT!!!! READ THIS FIRST!!!:
Many of the readings you see here are works-in-progress. Your instructor is in the process of writing a textbook and many of these readings will become chapters in that book (eventually). Because they are works-in-progress however, they are subject to editing! This means that they may change up to the week before we get to them in class. Thus, though you can look at them now to get a general idea of what the future holds it would be wise not to download everything on the first day of class. Instead please wait until the week prior to be sure that you will have an up-to-date reading.

Week 1

Weds. 9/7

Topic: Course Intro
Required Reading: Read the course syllabus thoroughly.
Required Work: None. We will go over the course syllabus.


Week 2

Mon. 9/12

Topic: What is Critical Thinking?
Required Reading: None.
Required Work: None. There will be an overview of the themes and concepts of the course.

Prelude: Reasoning by Default

Weds. 9/14

Topic: Why Bother? Default Human Reasoning
Required Reading: A Concise Introduction to Heuristics and Biases
Required Work: Take notes on the reading in your course journal, and be prepared to discuss it in class. Write down at least three of your own questions or reflections to help you contribute to the discussion.

Here is a link to the Forbes interview with Jay-Z and Warren Buffet.


Part I: Getting Clear as a Prerequisite for Critical Thinking

Week 3

Mon. 9/19

Topic: Getting Clear: Language and the Properties of Words
Required Reading: Language, Emotion, and Bias
Required Work: Take notes on the reading in your course journal, and write down at least three specific questions you can ask in class discussion.

Mon. 9/21

Topic: Vagueness and Ambiguity
Required Reading: Vagueness, Ambiguity and Definition
Required Work: Exercise 1
Note: All required work is to be completed PRIOR to the class meeting and must be done in your course journal. Review the instructions given in the syllabus for how to set up the course journal before proceeding. It is necessary for the format given there be followed in order to for work to merit full credit.


Week 4

Mon. 9/26

Topic: Definitions
Required Reading: Vagueness, Ambiguity and Definition
Required Work:

Part II: The Communicative Background of Critical Thinking

Weds. 9/28

Topic: Speech Acts
Required Reading:Reasoning, Communication, and Speech Acts
Required Work: Take notes on the reading in your course journal, and write down at least three specific questions you can ask in class discussion


Week 5

Mon. 10/3

Topic: Speech Acts
Required Reading: Review or finish reading Reasoning, Communication, and Speech Acts
Required Work: Exercise 2

Mon. 10/5

Topic: The Concept of Dialogue
Required Reading: Douglas Walton, "Types of Dialogue, Dialectical Shifts, and Fallacies"
Required Work: Exercise 1 on Walton


Week 6

Mon. 10/10

Topic: The Concept of Dialogue
Required Reading: Douglas Walton, "Types of Dialogue, Dialectical Shifts, and Fallacies"
Required Work: Exercise 2 on Walton

Weds. 10/12

Topic: Essay Test Workshop
Required Reading: none
Required Work: We will have an in-class workshop on how to take essay tests.

IMPORTANT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You must bring two blue books with you to this class on this day. Do NOT write anything on them, anywhere—inside or out. They must be unmarked! If you want your specific blue books back on the day of the test then place them in a large manila envelope with your name on the envelope (NOT on the blue books).

If you will not be in class on this day then you MUST e-mail me to make arrangements to drop them off before the end of the week. Know that you will NOT be permitted to bring in your own blue book on the day of the test!


Week 7

Mon. 10/17

No required readings or homework assignments. PHL 276-01 Fall 2011 Test One will be held in class on this day.

Part IV: Critical Thinking through Argument Analysis and Evaluation

Weds. 10/19

Topic: The Concept of Argument
Required Reading: None. There will be an in-class lecture on this topic.
Required Work: None


Week 8

Mon. 10/24

Topic: Identifying Arguments
Required Reading: Recognizing Arguments
Required Work: TBD

Weds. 10/26

Topic: Practice: Identifying Arguments
Required Reading: None
Required Work: TBD


Week 9

Mon. 10/31

There will be no class meeting. Instead of a normal class session you are to devote your time to completing PHL 276 Online Exercise 1.

Weds. 11/2

Topic: Argument Analysis: First Steps
Required Reading: Preparing Arguments for Analysis


Week 10

Mon. 11/7

Class cancelled.

Weds. 11/9

Topic: Practice: Preparing Arguments for Analysis
Required Reading: None
Required Work: None


Week 11

Mon. 11/14

Topic: Next Steps: Understanding Structure with Argument Diagrams
Required Reading: None. This material will be presented via an in-class lecture.
Required Work: TBD

Weds. 11/16

Topic: Practice: Argument Diagrams
No require reading or work. We will spend this day practicing our argument diagramming skills.
Required Work: TBD


Week 12

Mon. 11/21

Topic: Evaluating Arguments I: Evaluating the Inference
Required Reading:* A Basic Procedure for Evaluating Arguments
Required Work: TBD

Weds. 11/23

There will be no class meeting. Instead you are to devote your time to completing PHL 276 Online Assignment 2.


Week 13

Mon. 11/28

Topic: Evaluating Arguments II: Evaluating the Acceptability of the Premises
Required Reading:* Premise Acceptability
Required Work: TBD

Weds. 11/30

Topic: Practice: Evaluating Arguments
Required Reading:*
Required Work: TBD


Part V: Arguments from Authority

Week 14

Mon. 12/5

Topic: Practice: Evaluating Arguments
Required Reading:*
Required Work: TBD

Weds. 12/7

Topic: Arguments from Authority
Required Reading: Evaluating Authoritative Sources You may also want these examples for reference
Required Work: TBD


Week 15

Required Reading: None
Required Work: PHL 276-01 Fall 2011 Test Two will be held during our normal time period on Monday, 12 December, 2011.

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