However, there are two major differences. First, unlike Logic, which strives to spell out universal formal rules of correct reasoning which inevitably at one point leads to symbolic calculus and mathematics, Critical Thinking is more concerned with the unruly nature of real argumentation that does not allow unambiguous and definite formalization. Second, while Logic purports to be the most scientific discipline of philosophy that studies arguments as given results of reasoning no matter how do they arise in real communication, Critical Thinking is more of an art that seeks to evaluate our judgments and examine the process of making them in a particular historic and social context.
The above features make Critical Thinking at once less formal and more dynamic than Logic. While Logic prefers clear cut solutions, Critical Thinking should be more sensitive for the complexity of controversial issues and therefore more concerned to consider them from different points of view and aspects.
The course includes the following areas of study:
The course is based on these textbooks and their incorporated or accompanying materials.
We cannot cover all the included
topics nor do we intend to, but the books should be utilized as wider
resources for additional exercises and various applications. There is an accompanying Web site that includes an Internet-based study guide for the first book. You can visit this site at http://www.mhhe.com/bassham2e. There you can find chapters outlines, glossaries, self-quizzes and links to some interesting readings. The second book also has an accompanying Web site located at http://www.prenhall.com/philosophy. It features an online tutorial and interactive exercises. In addition the latter book includes a CD-Rom tutorial (e-Logic) with a treasury of over 800 exercises (and solutions) that are ideal for both classroom work and for self-quizzing.
(a) Students are expected to do all weekly assigned readings and exercises on time and as thorough as they can. By rule, the assigned exercises are taken from primary sources that are very complex and hence require both significant interpretive and critical skills in order to be properly done. A thorough logical analysis is a prerequisite for acquisition of these skills that, for their part, provide foundation for a good reading ability. We shall read and discuss a great number of exercises in class, but always as a continuation of your individual work, not as a substitute! Therefore, prepare for classes and always bring your book! You need also to visit the accompanying web-sites for additional exercises and self-assessment quizzes.
(b) Students are also expected to do home assignments dealing
either with more complex or more general issues in good reasoning (suggested by the course text
"for discussion" or "enrichment"). These assignments
require the analysis and use of both quantitative and qualitative data to test the validity of given truth claims. The assessment of validity and soundness of arguments will rely mostly on qualitative procedures while doing different forms of calculation (truth-tables, predicate and probability calculus) makes use more of quantitative data. Doing these assignments shall demonstrate your ability to analyse selected arguments and to evaluate
their upshot. They are due for the Midterm and Final exam respectively. The suggested
scope is 2 pages but you can extend your analysis over that limit.
There will be two exams including one final. They will consist of multiple choice and short essay questions.
Regular attendance and participation are extremely important in this class owing to many class exercises that cannot be made up individually at home. Working exercises and taking part in class discussions are included in the participation grade. Permission to be excused from a scheduled exam will be granted only for serious medical or personal reasons and must be properly documented. More than two unexcused absences may affect the student's final course grade.
Disabilities: Any student with a documented disability is welcome to contact me early in the semester so that we may work out reasonable accommodations to support your success in this course. One should also contact Disability Services for Students.
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