Philosophy 6: Logic in Practice

Los Angeles Pierce College

Department of History, Philosophy, & Sociology

Spring, 2018

 

Contact Information

Instructor: Christopher Lay, Ph.D

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

Website: www.christopherlay.com/logicpractice.html

Office Location: Room 910 in the 900/IRIS Building

 

Office Hours

A) Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 12:45 to 2:06PM (no appointment necessary);

B) or by appointment if you can't meet during A).  

 

Meeting Times and Place for Course #21254

Lecture Meeting Times:  Mondays and Wednesdays from 9:35 to 11:00AM

Meeting Location:  BRCH 1109

 

Meeting Times and Place for Course #21262

Lecture Meeting Times:  Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11:10AM to 12:35PM

Meeting Location:  BRCH 1109

 

Catalog Course Description

"Students learn how to understand, evaluate, and distinguish arguments and explanations by applying accepted standards of good reasoning. Students will learn techniques to recognize deductively valid arguments and avoid fallacies. They will also consider what is required for inductively strong arguments in order to avoid informal fallacies. There is particular emphasis on the appeals made in advertising and political rhetoric."

 

Prerequisite(s)

None

 

Student Learning Outcomes:

1.  When presented with an argument, the student is able to identify the premises and conclusion.

2.  When presented with an argument, the student is able to assess the validity or cogency of the argument by assessing deductive correctness or inductive strength using appropriate techniques for each. 

 

Required Texts

*

Mathew Van Cleave's 2016 Introduction to Logic and Critical Thinking

https://open.umn.edu/opentextbooks/BookDetail.aspx?bookId=457

 

Recommended Texts

*

Relevant entries from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

 

 

Course Grade and Assignments

Participation & Group Exercises

10% of course grade

Quizzes

30% of course grade

Midterm Exam

30% of course grade

Final Exam

30% 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. ... . 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'."

 

Participation and Group Exercises

Participation in philosophy is essential.  You are expected to do the readings on schedule (i.e. before the class period indicated) and come to class prepared to discuss them.  Talking about the substantive issues of the course in office hours and via email, and providing evidence of having utilized Pierce College's tutoring services also counts as 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

Each quiz will consist of questions either from, or like, the "Exercises" from the textbook.  

 

Midterm and Final Exam

Both the midterm and the final exams are loosely modeled off the quizzes and thus will mostly consist of questions either from, or like, the "Exercises" from the textbook.  The final exam is not cumulative.

 

Make-up Quizzes, Midterm, and Final Exam

You will only be able to make up in-class assignments if you have a credible excuse (e.g., doctor's note, jury summons, obituary notice, etc.).

 

Extra Credit

For 5% of extra credit, to be applied to your final course grade, attend some on-campus event and apply the logical skills we've developed over the course of the semester.  Your application of the logical skills we've developed over the course of the semester should be done by 1) identifying premises and conclusions from the content of the on-campus event, and 2) assessing the deductive correctness or inductive strength of an argument presented at that on-campus event.  To receive the full 5% of extra credit, explain in three paragraphs a) the event you attended, b) the premises and conclusion you identified, and c) your assessment of the deductive correctness or inductive strength of one of the argument from that event.  Extra credit will not be accepted before the middle of the term, or after the date of our final exam. 

 

Turn-Around Times for Emails

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.). 

 

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 & Critical Thinking

First Meeting

Reading: Course Syllabus including Schedule of Readings and Assignments  

 

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"

 

Second Meeting

Reading:  Chapter 1 "Reconstructing and Analyzing Arguments," § 1 "What is an Argument?"

Lecture Notes for Chapter 1, § 1

 

Priming Exercise for Premises

 

Reading:  Chapter 1 "Reconstructing and Analyzing Arguments," § 2 "Identifying Arguments"

Lecture Notes for Chapter 1, § 2

 

Week Two

Arguments

First Meeting

Priming Exercise for Complex Arguments

 

Reading:  Chapter 1 "Reconstructing and Analyzing Arguments," § 4 "More Complex Argument Structures"

Lecture Notes for Chapter 1, § 4

 

Supplemental Notes on Essays' Conclusions

 

Reading:  Chapter 1 "Reconstructing and Analyzing Arguments," § 5 "Using Your Own Paraphrases of Premises and Conclusions to Reconstruct Arguments in Standard Form"

Lecture Notes for Chapter 1, § 5

 

Supplemental Notes on Paraphrasing in Essays

 

Reading:  Chapter 1 "Reconstructing and Analyzing Arguments," § 6 "Validity"

Lecture Notes for Chapter 1, § 6

 

Second Meeting

Reading:  Chapter 1 "Reconstructing and Analyzing Arguments," § 6 "Validity"

Lecture Notes for Chapter 1, § 6

 

Reading:  Chapter 1 "Reconstructing and Analyzing Arguments," § 7 "Soundness"

Lecture Notes for Chapter 1, § 7

 

Reading:  Chapter 1 "Reconstructing and Analyzing Arguments," § 8 "Deductive and Inductive Arguments"

Lecture Notes for Chapter 1, § 8

 

Reading:  Chapter 1 "Reconstructing and Analyzing Arguments," § 9 "Arguments with Missing Premises"

Lecture Notes for Chapter 1, § 9

 

Group Exercise for Chapter 1, § 9

 

Week Three

Arguments

Monday, February 19

No Class

 

Tuesday, February 20

Reading:  Chapter 1 "Reconstructing and Analyzing Arguments," § 10 "Assuring, Guarding, and Discounting"

Lecture Notes for Chapter 1, § 10

 

Reading:  Chapter 1 "Reconstructing and Analyzing Arguments," § 11 "Evaluative Language"

Lecture Notes for Chapter 1, § 11

 

Wednesday/Thursday

Review

Quiz #1

 

Week Four

Arguments & Fallacies  

First Meeting

Reading:  Chapter 1 "Reconstructing and Analyzing Arguments," § 10 "Assuring, Guarding, and Discounting"

Lecture Notes for Chapter 1, § 10

 

Reading:  Chapter 1 "Reconstructing and Analyzing Arguments," § 11 "Evaluative Language"

Lecture Notes for Chapter 1, § 11

 

Chapter 4, § 1

 

Second Meeting

Group Exercise #2

 

Week Five

 Informal Fallacies / Parts and Wholes 

First Meeting

Chapter 4, § 2

 

Second Meeting

Review

Quiz #2

 

Week Six

Informal Fallacies / Slippery Slopes

First Meeting

Chapter 4, § 3

 

Second Meeting

Group Exercise #3

 

Week Seven

Informal Fallacies / Relevance

First Meeting

Review

Quiz #3

 

Second Meeting

Midterm Review

 

Week Eight

Midterm

Monday, March 26

Midterm Review

 

Tuesday, March 27

Midterm

 

Wednesday, March 28

Midterm

 

Thursday, March 29

No Class

 

Week None

Spring Break

Monday, April 2

No Class

Tuesday, April 3

No Class

Wednesday, April 4

No Class

Thursday, April 5

No Class

 

Week Nine

Deductive Logic / Universals  

First Meeting

Excerpts from Chapter 2

 

Second Meeting

Group Exercise #4

 

Week Ten

Deductive Logic / Hypotheticals

First Meeting

Excerpts from Chapter 2

 

Second Meeting

Review

Quiz #4

 

Week Eleven

Inductive Logic / Generalizations

First Meeting

Chapter 3, § 1

 

Second Meeting

Group Exercise #5

 

Week Twelve

Inductive Logic / Inferences & Explanations  

First Meeting

Chapter 3 § 2

 

Second Meeting

Review

Quiz #5

 

Week Thirteen

Inductive Logic / Analogies

First Meeting

Chapter 3 § 3

 

Second Meeting

Group Exercise #6

 

Week Fourteen

Inductive Logic / Causation

First Meeting

Chapter 3 § 4

 

Second Meeting

Review

Quiz #6

 

Week Fifteen

Review

 

Chapter 3

 

Week Sixteen

Finals Week (Schedule)

 

Final Exam for those (in Course #21262) who meet Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11:10AM to 12:35PM

 

 

Final Exam for those (in Course #21254) meeting Mondays and Wednesdays from 9:35 to 11:00AM

 

 

 

 

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."