Philosophy | Thinking and Reasoning
P105 | 3256 | Burkhart


This course will be dedicated to the acquisition of skills that
philosophers and others use in reasoning and argumentation.  The
point is to learn these skills in such a way that they can be put to
use in academia and beyond  - essentially any place where
construction and analysis of arguments in important.  We will strive
toward this goal in three stages: the first will deal with basic
principles of reasoning.  Here we will learn the more formal tools
that philosophers and others use to evaluate arguments.  The second
will address these tools concretely by putting them into practice.
Here we will begin to bring to the classroom arguments that you, the
students, find from popular sources.  The point of this is to learn
to spot and evaluate the arguments that you read in an everyday
context.  The third stage will address the construction of
arguments.  You will be asked to put together arguments of your own
making, keeping in mind the skills you have learned regarding what
makes a good and bad argument.  This final stage will focus on the
skill of taking an argument that has been constructed and
constructing a coherent paper around that argument.

There will be a midterm and a final, a series of short quizzes, a
series of short summary/ analysis papers, and a final argument
essay.  While this may sound like a great deal of work, the actual
time spent on these projects will most likely be less that the same
for other courses.  The activity that will consume most of your time
for this class will be thinking itself.  As is the nature of such a
course, this course will not force you to waste time in busy work,
but will make up for such in depth and quality of work and time spent.

Your grade for the course will be determined by your performance on
the midterm and final, the summaries, the quizzes, the final essay,
and also participation.  The midterm and final are worth 25% each,
the summaries are worth 15%, the quizzes 10%, and participation 10%.