Philosophy 5: Critical Thinking and Composition

Pierce College

Department of History, Philosophy, & Sociology

Fall, 2017

 

Contact Information

Instructor: Christopher Lay, Ph.D

Email: laych@piercecollege.edu and teach@christopherlay.com

Website: www.christopherlay.com/criticalcomposition.html

Office Location: Room 910 in the 900/IRIS Building

 

Office Hours

A) Mondays from 12:45PM to 2:10PM (no appointment necessary),

B) Wednesdays from 12:45PM to 3:40PM (no appointment necessary),

C) Thursdays from 2:20PM to 3:40PM (no appointment necessary), or

D) by appointment if you can't meet during the above times.

 

Meeting Times and Place for Course #20160

Lecture Meeting Times:  Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:35AM to 11:00PM

Meeting Location:  BRCH 1108

 

Meeting Times and Place for Course #20168

Lecture Meeting Times:  Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12:45PM to 2:10PM

Meeting Location:  BRCH 1108

 

Catalog Course Description

"Students develop and refine the critical thinking skills necessary to formulate and evaluate argumentative essays. Critical writing about philosophical and logical concepts that are applicable to any systematic thinking is emphasized."

 

Prerequisite(s)

English 101: College Reading and Composition

 

Student Learning Outcomes:

1.  Ability to summarize an argument and evaluate an essay's arguments with respect to clarity of key terms, emotive use of language, informal fallacies, underlying assumptions and values, as well as validity, soundness, and strength of arguments;

2.  Be able to synthesize various arguments presented in essays on a single topic, comparing and contrasting the main points.

 

Required Texts

*

Graff, Gerald. They Say, I Say: The Moves that Matter in Academic Writing. 3nd Ed. W.W. Norton and Co., 2016.

 

(Any edition of this book should work.) 

 

 

Recommended Texts

*

Relevant entries from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

 

 

Course Grade and Assignments

In-Class Participation

5% of course grade

Group Exercise Participation

5% of course grade

Quizzes

10% of course grade

First Essay

10% of course grade

Second Essay

15% of course grade

Third Essay

15% of course grade

Fourth Essay

20% of course grade

Final Essay

20% of course grade

 

Grading Scale

A

100 – 90%

B

89 – 80%

C

79 – 70%

D

69 – 60%

F

59 – 0%

 

General Ground Rules:

Do what you can to be collegial and respectful–and don't be intentionally offensive. 

 

Attendance (from the Pierce College Catalogue):

"Students are expected to be in class on time and to remain for the entire class period. Medical appointments, work, job interviews, child-care responsibilities, etc. should be arranged so as not to occur during class time. Please do not make requests for exceptions. Any student who has unexcused absences equaling one week's worth of class time prior to census date may be excluded. Students may drop the class online, before the last day to drop. Students should never rely on the instructor to exclude them. Do not call the college offices to report absences … ."

"By the last day to add the class, students are responsible to inform the instructor of any anticipated absences due to observance of major religious holidays so that alternative arrangements may be made. Failure to do so may result in an inability to make other arrangements or a lower grade." 

"Students who are registered in a class and miss the first meeting may lose their right to a place in the class, but the instructor may consider special circumstances. Instructors will generally only exclude students through the census date for non-attendance. It is the student's responsibility to drop classes in time to avoid fees and/or grades of 'W'."

 

In-Class Participation

You are expected to do the readings on time (i.e. before the class period indicated) and come to class prepared to discuss them.  If you visit our tutor more than twice, keep track of your visits so that those visits (beyond the first two) can be applied to the In-Class Participation portion of your final course grade. 

 

Group Exercise Participation

At various times during the semester we will engage in group exercises.  Other, specific expectations for the group exercises will be spelled out in the group exercise prompts.  Note: at no point will you be graded on someone else's performance, or lack of performance. 

 

Quizzes

Quizzes will be administered during various course meetings.  The lowest four quiz grades will be dropped–so no make-up quizzes will be given. 

 

Essays

You will be given a prompt for each essay, and approximately a week to complete it. The essays for this class must be philosophical.  Your essay must have an original thesis/argument and support for that thesis/argument.  Other, specific expectations for the essay will be spelled out in the essay prompts.  Also, you will be expected to correct errors in mechanics, usage, grammar, and spelling.  

 

Drafts

You are encouraged (but not required) to submit rough drafts of assignments (except the final essay).  I will comment on your draft and offer advice and assistance where I can.  Rough drafts should not exceed half of the final draft length (e.g. if the final assignment is three pages the rough draft submitted for comments should not exceed one and a half pages).  I will not comment on drafts submitted too close to the due date (like the night before the assignment is due).  If I get swamped with drafts two days before the assignment is due I sometimes return comments two or three days later along with an extended due date so that you have time to take my comments into consideration. 

 

Late Paper Policy

If you have a credible excuse (e.g., doctor's note, jury summons, obituary notice, etc.) late take-home assignments will be accepted.  Extensions for take-home assignments will be given only when 1) a compelling reason is given and 2) permission is sought at least three days before the normal deadline.  Without a credible excuse, late assignments will be given a third of a letter grade penalty for each day the assignment is late for up to seven days, after which late assignments without a credible excess will not be accepted for anything more than half of the assignment's value. 

 

Extra Credit

For 2.5% of extra credit, to be applied to your final course grade, attend some on-campus event (after week 12, but before the final essay is due) and apply the skills we've developed over the course of the semester.  For another 2.5% of extra credit, to be applied to your final course grade, seek out the assistance of our tutor at least twice.  More details about both of these extra credit options can be found here: http://www.christopherlay.com/criticalcompositionextracredit.html

 

Turn-Around Times for Emails, Rough Drafts, and Final Drafts

I am usually able to respond to emails within 24-hours, but sometimes I cannot (e.g., it is the weekend, or it is the day before an assignment is due and everyone is emailing me with last-minute questions, etc.)  I usually return rough drafts with comments about two days after they have been submitted to me, but sometimes it takes longer because there is a sudden flood of rough drafts (e.g., when the due date is two days away).  I usually return final drafts (with the exception of the final assignment of the semester) two or three weeks (or one week during a shorter session) after they have been submitted to me (which is not always the same thing as the assignment's due date).  Taking that amount of time to grade final drafts allows me to give you all of the comments I give—I try and give many, many comments.  The final assignment of the semester will be returned upon request only. 

 

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities (from the Pierce College Catalogue):

"Students with physical, psychological or learning disabilities are offered a wide range of services including registration, special parking and counseling. These services are also available to students with a temporary disability such as injury or post-operative recuperation. All services and equipment are provided free of charge to any qualifying disabled student."

"Deaf and learning disabled students are offered additional services including special classes, tutoring and computer-assisted instruction. The Disabled Students Office is located in the Student Services Building, room 48175. The office is open Monday through Thursday from 8:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. and Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m." 

Phone: (818) 719-6430

Fax: (818) 710-4219

VP Number:(818) 436-0467

Email: special_services@piercecollege.edu

 

Student Health Center

Medical and mental health services are available to all currently enrolled students at the Student Health Center. There is no cost to students to see any of the medical and mental health providers during extended office hours. Please contact the Student Health Center at 818.710.4270 to make an appointment or to ask a question, or see them on the second floor of the Student Services Building. 

 

Current and Former Foster Students

Pierce College is making a special effort to support current and former foster youths at Pierce College. If you are a current or former foster youth you may qualify for other support services to help you achieve your educational goals.  Please contact our Guardian Scholars Program at 818.710.3323 or send an email to guardianscholars@piercecollege.edu so you can get the support you are eligible for.

 

Name and Gender Policy

The campus provides me with a roster that lists the name that it has on record for you.  But you may prefer a different name. In such cases, please email me or correct me in class and I’ll gladly refer to you however you wish as best I can.  The same applies with gender identity – if you identify with a particular pronoun, set of pronouns, or always by your proper name, please let me know and I’ll be sure to my part.

 

Academic Counseling Services

Academic counselors are available to assist you in identifying and clarifying your academic values and goals, developing a Student Education Plan, and interpreting articulation agreements with other colleges and universities amongst other things.  Please contact the Pierce College Counseling Center at 818.719.6440, or see them on the first floor of the Student Services Building. 

 

Tutors

The Center for Academic Success helps students who need academic support.  Tutors can help you acquire the skills and tools necessary to meet your academic, vocational, or personal goals. All tutoring services are free to currently enrolled Pierce College students.  Please contact the Pierce College Center for Academic Success at 818.719.6414, or see them on the first floor of the Library & Learning Crossroads Building. 

 

Three Attempts Policy

Familiarize yourself with the new statewide policy regarding how many times (generally 3) you may attempt a class before you are ‘locked out’ of further attempts in the LACCD.  See the Pierce College Schedule of Classes, the Counseling Center, or me for more info. 

 

Dates to Remember

Make sure to familiarize yourself with important dates (official holidays, the last day to drop without a W, the last day to drop with a W, etc.) found on the Pierce College academic calendar.

 

Reading and Assignment Schedule

(Subject to occasional change)

 

 

Week One

Introductions, the Metaphysics of College, & Representation

First Meeting

 

Reading: Course Syllabus including Schedule of Readings and Assignments  

Second Meeting

Reading: Delbanco's "College at Risk"

Reading Notes for Delbanco's "College at Risk"

Lecture Notes for Delbanco reading

 

Reading: They Say, I Say, "Introduction: Entering the Conversation."

Lecture Notes for They Say, I Say, "Introduction: Entering the Conversation."

 

Week Two

Critical Thinking, College, & Self-Knowledge

 

Reading: Delbanco's "College at Risk"

Reading Notes for Delbanco's "College at Risk"

Lecture Notes for Delbanco reading

 

Quiz on Delbanco

 

Reading:  They Say, I Say, Chapter 12, "'I Take Your Point:' Entering Class Discussions." 

Lecture Notes for They Say, I Say, Chapter 12

 

Sample Paragraphs Outlined for a Working Draft of the First Essay

 

Notes on Group Work

Group Exercise on Delbanco

 

Optional Reading: "The Myth of the Science and Engineering Shortage," by Michael S. Teitelbaum

Lecture Notes for optional " Myth of the Science and Engineering Shortage," by Michael S. Teitelbaum

 

Reading: excerpts from Plato's "Apology" (from the beginning, "How you, O Athenians, have been affected by my accusers, I cannot tell," up until the point where Socrates says, "Let thirty minae be the penalty; for which sum they will be ample security to you") 

Reading Notes for excerpts from Plato's "Apology"

Lecture Notes for Plato reading

 

Week Three

Negative vs. Positive Knowledge, Writing as Thinking, & Wisdom

 

 

Reading: excerpts from Plato's "Apology" (from the beginning, "How you, O Athenians, have been affected by my accusers, I cannot tell," up until the point where Socrates says, "Let thirty minae be the penalty; for which sum they will be ample security to you") 

Reading Notes for excerpts from Plato's "Apology"

Lecture Notes for Plato reading

 

Quiz on Socrates

 

Reading: They Say, I Say, Chapter 1 "'They Say:' Starting with What Others Are Saying"

Lecture Notes for They Say, I Say, Chapter 1

 

Notes on Writing Philosophy Essays

Group Exercise on Writing / Arguments

Thursday, September 14

 

 

 

First Essay Due

 

Week Four

Doubt and Error  

 

Reading: excerpts ("First Meditation" only) from Descartes' Meditations

Reading Notes for excerpts ("First Meditation" only) from Descartes' Meditations

Lecture Notes for Descartes Reading

 

Reading: Bill Nye on Descartes (transcript only)

Optional Reading: Bill Nye Reversal on Philosophy

Optional Reading: Phil[osophy] Skills

 

The Prompt for the Second Essay

 

Group Exercise on Descartes and Deception  

 

Reading:  They Say, I Say, Chapter 2 "'Her Point Is': The Art of Summarizing." 

Lecture Notes for They Say, I Say, Chapter 2

 

Week Five

Thinking and Bodies

 

Reading: excerpts ("Second Meditation" only) from Descartes' Meditations

Reading Notes for excerpts ("Second Meditation" only) from Descartes' Meditations

Lecture Notes for Descartes Reading

 

Reading: They Say, I Say, Chapter 3 "'As He Himself Puts It': The Art of Quoting."

Lecture Notes for They Say, I Say, Chapter 3

 

Quiz on Quotes (and when they are needed)

 

Quiz on Number of Arguments 

 

Group Exercise on Writing / Arguments

 

Week Six

Inner vs. Outer Knowledge

 

Reading: excerpts ("Sixth Meditation" only) from Descartes' Meditations

Reading Notes for excerpts ("Sixth Meditation" only) from Descartes' Meditations

Lecture Notes for Descartes Reading

 

Reading:  They Say, I Say, Chapter 4 "'Yes / No / Okay, But': Three Ways to Respond." 

Lecture Notes for They Say, I Say, Chapter 4

 

Quiz on Naysaying  

 

Group Exercise on Writing / Objections

 

Thursday, October 6th

Friday, October 6th

 

 

 

 

Second Essay Due

 

Week Seven

Implicit Bias, Analogical Minds

 

Reading: excerpts from Alexander's The New Jim Crow

Lecture Notes for Alexander reading

 

Optional Reading: Banaji Interview Transcript 

Optional Reading: Baum's "Legalize it All: How to win the war on drugs"

Optional Reading: Ojiaku's "Is Everybody a Racist?"

Optional Reading: "Pre-Suasion"

Optional Reading: Gayla's "A Federal Court Asks Jurors to Confront Their Hidden Biases: But is a novel video tutorial the best way?  The jury is still out." 

Optional Reading: Lyon's "[Seven] Criminal Cases That Invoked the 'Sleepwalking Defense'"

Optional Reading: Lyon's "When Sleep Problems Become Legal Problems, Neuroscience Can Help"

Optional Reading: Hayward's "Implicit Bias: The New 'Original Sin'"

Optional Reading: Daryl Davis & the KKK: "'When Two Enemies are Talking, They're Not Fighting': Meet the Black Man who has Made a Career Out of Befriending Members of the KKK"

Lecture Notes for the Davis article

 

 

Third Essay Prompt

 

Reading: excerpts from Russell's "The Argument from Analogy for Other Minds" from Human Knowledge

Reading Notes for excerpts from Russell's "The Argument from Analogy for Other Minds" from Human Knowledge

Lecture Notes for Russell reading

 

Reading:  They Say, I Say, Chapter 5 "'And Yet': Distinguishing What You Say from What They Say." 

Lecture Notes for They Say, I Say, Chapter 5

 

Group Exercise on Experiencing Others' Unconscious Behaviors

 

Week Eight

Are We Enough Alike?

 

Reading: excerpts from Alexander's The New Jim Crow

Lecture Notes for Alexander reading

 

Reading: excerpts from Russell's "The Argument from Analogy for Other Minds" from Human Knowledge

Lecture Notes for Russell reading

 

 

Reading:  They Say, I Say, Chapter 6 "Skeptics May Object': Planting a Naysayer in Your Text."

Lecture Notes for They Say, I Say, Chapter 6

 

Notes on Research

 

Group Exercise on Research

 

Week Nine

Getting Thought Wrong and Psychology

 

Reading: excerpts from Alexander's The New Jim Crow

Lecture Notes for Alexander reading

 

Reading:  They Say, I Say, Chapter 7 "'So What?  Who Cares?': Saying Why It Matters." 

Lecture Notes for They Say, I Say, Chapter 7

 

Group Exercise on Research Reflections

 

Group Exercise on Writing / Arguments

 

Thursday, October 26th

Saturday, October 28th

 

 

 

 

Third Essay Due

 

Week Ten

Getting Ourselves

 

Reading: excerpts from Book I of Brentano's Psychology from an Empirical Standpoint  (Chapter II §§ 1, 3, 4, & the last paragraph of 5) 

Lecture Notes for Brentano reading

 

Optional Reading: Nanay's (2017) "'Know Thyself' is not just silly advice: its's actively dangerous"

 

Reading:  They Say, I Say, Chapter 8 "'As a Result': Connecting the Parts."

Lecture Notes for They Say, I Say, Chapter 8

 

Fourth Essay Prompt

 

Quiz on Brentano's Definition of Mental Phenomena

 

Group Exercise on Brentano Excerpts

 

Week Eleven

Getting Over Ourselves

 

Reading: excerpts from Book II of Brentano's Psychology from an Empirical Standpoint (Chapter I §§ 5 & 6, Chapter II §§ 1, 2, 3, & 7) 

Lecture Notes for Brentano reading

 

Reading:  They Say, I Say, Chapter 9 "'Ain't So / Is Not': Academic Writing Doesn't Always Mean Setting Aside Your Own Voice."

Lecture Notes for They Say, I Say, Chapter 9

 

Unorganized Questions about Brentano's Theory of Mind

 

Week Twelve

Getting Over Ourselves

 

Reading: excerpts from Book II of Brentano's Psychology from an Empirical Standpoint (Chapter I §§ 5 & 6, Chapter II §§ 1, 2, 3, & 7) 

Lecture Notes for Brentano reading

 

Reading:  They Say, I Say, Chapter 10 "'But Don't Get Me Wrong': The Art of Metacommentary."

Lecture Notes for They Say, I Say, Chapter 10

 

Group Exercise on Brentano's Theory of Mind Applied to Alexander's Concern

 

Group Exercise on Writing / Arguments

 

Quiz on Assumptions about Readers

 

Week Thirteen

Answering the Call of the Other

First Meeting, Tuesday, November 21

Reading: excerpts from Stein's On the Problem of Empathy

Reading Notes for excerpts from Stein's On the Problem of Empathy

Lecture Notes for Stein reading

 

Group Exercise on Writing / Objections

 

Wednesday, November 22

 

Fourth Essay Due

 

Thursday, November 23

 

No Classes

 

 Saturday, November 25th

 

 

Fourth Essay Due

 

Week Fourteen

Answering the Call of the Other

 

Reading: excerpts from Stein's On the Problem of Empathy

Reading Notes for excerpts from Stein's On the Problem of Empathy

Lecture Notes for Stein reading

 

Final Essay Prompt

 

Quiz on Sign Posting

 

Week Fifteen

Answering the Call of the Other

 

Reading: excerpts from Stein's On the Problem of Empathy

Reading Notes for excerpts from Stein's On the Problem of Empathy

Lecture Notes for Stein reading

 

Group Exercise on Writing / Arguments

 

Group Exercise on Writing / Objections

 

Quiz on Conclusions

 

Week Sixteen

Finals Week (Schedule)

Thursday, December 14

Final Essay due via email by 11:59PM (but I will be in the normal classroom during the scheduled final exam time) 

 

 

 

 

Conduct on Campus for Students and Instructors (from http://info.piercecollege.edu/info/conduct/index.asp): 

"LACCD Board Rule 9803 STANDARDS OF CONDUCT"

"A student enrolling in one of the Los Angeles Community Colleges may rightfully expect that the faculty and administrators of the Colleges will maintain an environment in which there is freedom to learn. This requires that there be appropriate conditions and opportunities in the classroom and on the campus. As members of the college community, students should be encouraged to develop the capacity for critical judgment, to engage in the sustained and independent search for truth, and to exercise their rights to free inquiry and free speech in a responsible, non-violent manner. In the furtherance of the students' interest in free inquiry and the search for truth, it is also important that students be able to hear the views of non-students and engage in the free exchange of ideas with non-students."

 

Academic Honesty (from the Pierce College Catalogue):

"I . Violations of academic honesty and integrity occur when a student participates in any act in which he/she uses deception or fraud while performing an academic activity. Violations include, but are not limited to, the following:

"• Submitting for a grade the words, ideas, and/or written work (including laboratory notes and drawings) of another person without giving due credit to that person. This includes purchased papers or papers written by other students."

 

Student Grievances (from http://www.piercecollege.edu/offices/compliance/stdgrievance.asp): 

"The student grievance procedure is designed to provide a prompt and equitable means for resolving student grievances, including but not limited to the grading process. The grievance procedure may be initiated by a student or group of students who reasonably believe that they have been subject to unjust action or denied rights that adversely affect their status, rights, or privileges as a student. To initiate a student grievance, please contact the Office of Student Services at 818-710-6418."

"Informal Resolution"

"All parties involved in a potential grievance are encouraged to seek an informal remedy."

"The recommended steps for students to follow are:

"meeting directly with the faculty member(s) with whom the student has a problem"

"meeting with the department chair of the faculty member(s)"

"meeting with the department's Dean of Academic Affair" or

"meeting with the College Ombudsperson Ombudspersons are faculty members appointed by the Academic Senate to assist students in obtaining informal resolution of a grievance."