P150 | 0479 | Kesler

How can we reason more clearly? How can we detect the strengths and weaknesses in the reasoning of ourselves and others? How can we tell whether or not we are persuaded by good reasoning or by mere prejudice? What is it that distinguishes good reasoning from bad reasoning? In this introductory course, we will be thinking about how the concepts and techniques of formal logic help us to respond to these questions. Topics will be selected from the following: the soundness, validity, and cogency or arguments, deductive and inductive reasoning, formal and informal fallacies, translation of English sentences into the language of first order prepositional logic, and proofs using natural deduction, Venn diagrams, truth tables, and truth trees. As this course is more like a math or science course than a course in the humanities, much of our work will focus on problem solving. Course requirements include frequent homework assignments and a few quizzes and exams. Small group work and student presentations of some of the material are also an integral part of the course.