PHIL& 115 Critical Thinking • 5 Cr.
An informal, non-symbolic introduction to logic and critical thinking emphasizing real-life examples, natural language applications, and the informal logical fallacies.
After completing this class, students should be able to:
- Recognize and use basic philosophic vocabulary relevant to critical thinking (e.g., “valid,” “invalid,” “sound, etc) in in-class and take-home essays, short answer test, and/or matching quizzes.
- Recognize and create valid arguments using methods of deduction. For instance, students may be given a list of deductive arguments and be required to determine which are valid. Or students may be asked to create a two-premise valid argument with a specified conclusion.
- Recognize and create strong arguments using methods of induction. For instance, students may be given a list of inductive arguments and be required to determine which are strong. Or students may be asked to create a two-premise strong argument wit a specified conclusion.
- Recognize and name informal fallacies. Students should be able to read a list of arguments and determine which ones are guilty of informal fallacies and be able to name the fallacy in each case.
- Recognize the different types (e.g., genus and difference, enumerative, etymological) of definitions, and to create accurate definitions. For example, students may be asked to provide a genus and difference definition of “ice,” or a definition by synonym for “physician.” Students should also be able to point out common mistakes in definitions (e.g., being too narrow or broad, being merely enumerative).
- Use scientific (i.e., hypothetical) reasoning to
- create a hypothesis to explain an puzzling phenomenon,
- suggest an implication to that hypothesis,
- suggest a test for that implication,
- explain in writing what may be concluded given the result of the test. Students should be able to explain in a short answer some of the limitations to scientific reasoning.
- Develop arguments from analogy and critique existing arguments from analogy appealing to criteria learned in class.
- Use Mill’s Methods of Causality to determine the cause of an event.
- Explain in writing what the logical strengths and weaknesses are in an example of rhetoric or persuasive reasoning.
- Write an argumentative essay containing a clear thesis claim, strong arguments for the thesis, reasonable consideration of opposing views, and conforming to the writing standards set forth in the "BC Philosophy Writing Guidelines" (found at www.bellevuecollege.edu/philosophy).