P105 | 3733 | Harris

This course (P105: Thinking and Reasoning) is an introduction to critical reasoning skills and the fundamentals of informal logic. The class covers the basic concepts of logic and develops principles and methods for the recognition, analysis, and critical evaluation of arguments. Our emphasis is on the deductive evaluation of arguments. Some central topics covered during the course include: Arguments and the notion of validity, The notion of truth, Diagramming arguments, Basic valid argument forms, The Contradiction Principle, Informal proofs of validity, Counterexamples for proving invalidity, Formal and informal fallacies of reasoning, and Introductory formal logic. Arguments are everywhere. The study of Logic and Critical Thinking is not only fun; it is incredibly useful. The ability to analyze and evaluate the forms of reasoning one encounters among the intellectual activities of life --e.g. in newspapers, magazines and television; in the courts and in the culture; in political speeches and in university lectures; in scientific and philosophical investigation-- is really a requirement for successful participation in those activities. The goal of this course is for each student to gain a knowledge of the essentials of informal logic. The primary focus will be on cultivating skill in recognizing, analyzing and evaluating arguments. Along the way, we will study several traditional techniques, such as diagramming arguments, identifying informal fallacies, and using a tableuax system. There are regular (weekly) homework assignments and three in-class examinations.