Philosophy | Thinking and Reasoning
P105 | 12033 | Carlson


Typically, when a person wants to convince you of something, that
person will offer an argument.  Whether you should be convinced
depends, of course, on whether the argument is a good one.  But what
makes an argument a good argument?  How can we tell whether we should
be convinced by another's (or even our own) reasoning?  This course
is devoted to the study of arguments, with an eye toward answering
these questions.  By 'argument' we don't mean a fist fight or
shouting match but, rather, a structured group of statements in which
reasons are offered as evidential support for a conclusion.  We will
consider a variety of arguments, from many different sources, and
develop techniques for analyzing and critically evaluating these
arguments.  No prior experience in doing philosophy is required to do
well in this course, though a philosophical attitude--an open-minded
willingness to engage with the details of a variety of arguments--
will serve you well.  Performance in the course will be assessed by
homework assignments (approximately weekly), two exams, and a short
essay.  The text for the course is: Cederblom, Jerry and Paulsen,
David.  Critical Reasoning (Sixth Edition).  Thomson Wadworth, 2006.
ISBN-10: 0-534-60507-9.