Philosophy 6: Logic in Practice

Los Angeles Pierce College

Department of History, Philosophy, & Sociology

Spring, 2017

 

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); or

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

 

Meeting Times and Place for Course #0546

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

Meeting Location:  BRCH 1109

 

Meeting Times and Place for Course #8356

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

*

Burton F. Porter's The Voice of Reason: Fundamentals of Critical Thinking, Oxford University Press, 2002.

 

 

Recommended Texts

*

Relevant entries from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

 

 

Course Grade and Assignments

Participation

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

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. 

 

Quizzes

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

 

Midterm and Final Exam

Both the midterm and the final exams will consist of questions either from, or like, the "Assignments, Exercises, and Puzzles" 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 week 12, 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

 

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. 

 

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.

 

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.

 

Reading and Assignment Schedule

(Subject to occasional change)  (College Calendar)

 

 

Week One

Introductions & Critical Thinking

First Meeting

Reading: Course Syllabus including Schedule of Readings and Assignments  

 

Second Meeting

Reading:  The Voice of Reason, Chapter 1, pages 1-13 & 17-20

Reading:  Reading Notes

Lecture Notes

 

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"

 

Week Two

Using Words

 

Reading:  The Voice of Reason, Chapter 2

Reading:  Reading Notes

Lecture Notes

 

Week Three

Using Words

First Meeting

Reading:  The Voice of Reason, Chapter 2

Reading:  Reading Notes

Lecture Notes

 

Second Meeting

Review and Quiz: Chapter 1 & 2

 

Week Four

Language and Definition

First Meeting

Reading:  The Voice of Reason, Chapter 3

Reading:  Reading Notes

Lecture Notes

 

Second Meeting

Review and Quiz: Chapter 3

 

Week Five

Disagreements, Claims & Reasons

First Meeting

Reading:  The Voice of Reason, Chapter 4 (all of Part One, and only the last part of Part Two, having to do with "Relevance in Arguments," "Adequate Truth," and "Alternative Possibilities")

Reading:  Reading Notes

Lecture Notes

 

Second Meeting

Review and Quiz: Chapter 4

 

Week Six

Avoiding Mistakes in Thinking

First Meeting

Reading:  The Voice of Reason, Chapter 5

Reading:  Reading Notes

Lecture Notes

 

Second Meeting

Review and Quiz: Chapter 5

 

Week Seven

Avoiding Subtle Mistakes in Thinking

First Meeting

Reading:  The Voice of Reason, Chapter 6

Reading:  Reading Notes

Lecture Notes

 

Second Meeting

Review and Quiz: Chapter 6

 

Week Eight

Midterm / Midterm Review

Tuesday, March 28

Midterm for §8356 (which meets Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11:10AM to 12:35PM)

 

Wednesday, March 29

Midterm for §0546 (which meets Mondays and Wednesdays from 9:35 to 11:00AM)

 

Week Nine

Spring Break

 

No Classes

 

Week Ten

Deductive Logic

First Meeting

Reading:  The Voice of Reason, Chapter 7

Reading:  Reading Notes

Lecture Notes

 

Second Meeting

Reading:  The Voice of Reason, Chapter 8

Reading:  Reading Notes

Lecture Notes

 

Week Eleven

Deductive Logic

First Meeting

Reading:  The Voice of Reason, Chapter 8

Reading:  Reading Notes

Lecture Notes

 

Second Meeting

Review and Quiz: Chapter 8

 

Week Twelve

Causes & Analogies

 

Reading:  The Voice of Reason, Chapter 9

Reading:  Reading Notes

Lecture Notes

 

Week Thirteen

Causes & Analogies

First Meeting

Reading:  The Voice of Reason, Chapter 9

Reading:  Reading Notes

Lecture Notes

 

Second Meeting

Review and Quiz: Chapter 9

 

Week Fourteen

Generalizations & Hypotheses

Monday, May 8

For those enrolled in section #0546 (which meets on Mondays and Wednesdays at 9:35AM)

 

Employ Logic in Practice in the Great Hall at 9:35AM while watching Residence Elsewhere for Extra Credit

 

Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday

Reading:  The Voice of Reason, Chapter 10

Reading:  Reading Notes

Lecture Notes

 

Week Fifteen

Generalizations & Hypotheses

First Meeting

Reading:  The Voice of Reason, Chapter 10

Reading:  Reading Notes

Lecture Notes

 

Second Meeting

Review and Quiz: Chapter 10

 

Week Sixteen

Final Exam Review

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday

Final Review

 

Week Seventeen

Finals Week (Schedule)

Tuesday, May 30 at 11:00AM

Final Exam for §8356 (which meets Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11:10AM to 12:35PM)

 

Wednesday, May 31 at 9:00AM

Final Exam for §0546 (which meets 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."