Critical Thinking Skills



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Department of Literature and Languages

Introduction to Philosophy

Philosophy 2300.001.2172

General Education Core Curriculum Objectives and Student Learning Outcomes Core

Dr. K. H. Johnson, PhD, johnson_ke@utpb.edu



Critical Thinking Skills: creative thinking, innovation, inquiry and analysis, evaluation and synthesis of information à LOGIC, Written Assignments, Class discussions,

Communication Skills: effective development, interpretation and expression of ideas through written, oral, and visual communication à EPISTEMOLOGY/THEORY OF KNOWLEDGE/Written Assignments

Personal Responsibility: the ability to connect choices, actions and consequences to ethical decision-making à ETHICS/Distinguished from Morals/Group Project and Ethical Theory

Social Responsibility: intercultural competence, knowledge of civic responsibility, and the ability to engage effectively in regional, national, and global communities à ETHICS/Conventionalism, Realism, Written Assignments that include an awareness/view/perspective of at least two different cultures

[Source: (http://www.utpb.edu/services/academic-affairs/administrator-staff/core-curriculum)]



Course Objectives

In addition to the Core Curriculum objectives there are course goals that coincide with the above.

 First, you will learn the informal and formal study of beginning logic that will aid you in critical and analytic thinking skills.  You will demonstrate these skills by identifying, defining and applying informal fallacies and work through beginning formal analyses such as truth tables, categorical syllogisms, logical symbols and operators and render abbreviated arguments into logical forms.

 Second, you will learn about theories of knowledge and address the following questions:  How do we know?  What are the arguments for the various forms of epistemology?  A great deal of epistemic theory is related to education.  In some way your former teachers, present professors and future professors, you as a learner, parent, and/or citizen actively practice some form of epistemology.   Another question we will consider is, “Where are you?”  You will be questioned about the objective information and need to address the primary question, “How do I know”?  You will address these ideas in the content of one of your two major writing assignments [see Appendix].  Caveat: Your writing assignments, as you will see, do not include only one aspect of the various philosophical disciplines.

Third, you will tackle aspects of metaphysics which is often conflated with philosophy of religion and ontology.  Here you will be contending with theories of mind, philosophy of social sciences and ideas addressing the nature of reality, a fundamental aspect of metaphysics.  Again, you will address questions about the information and may use these ideas in one of your written assignments, contending with these issues and the assumptions generated by “father culture” (paraphrasing Quinn).  Good answers, as in science, address and solve challenges but the best answers also generate more questions.

Fourth, although many consider ethics to mean morals, ethics are systems of analysis of what is right and wrong or appropriate actions that need to be taken with supporting reasons whereas morals are what people consider to be right and wrong.  Here you will deal with some of the systems of analyzing situations, be asked to address objective questions regarding the various theories and their results, and apply these systems in a group project dealing with a controversial issue.  You will need to not only research the theories and their application but also how the issue is dealt with from other cultures.

 Fifth, one of the most arguable issues is philosophy of religion.  There are very few arguments, other than faith based, that are string as premises cannot be verified; thus the questions that are generated are problematic for some.  Some examples: 



  • If there is what many people consider to be one Christian church, why are there over 9,000 different denominations protected by the constitution of the US?  Pragmatically the answer seems easy. 

  • Why is there evil and is such a thing? 

  • Many of the other fields of philosophy, if not all, are applicable to philosophy of religion (what exactly is religion or is it possible that there is no viable definition?), do not ethics develop from religion?

  • Is not religion the foundation of morals?

  • What logical arguments, if any, are found in religions?

  • How do we “know”, epistemologically, if there is a religion or religions that are correct?

  • Is it all a question of taste, father culture, inherent?

  • What is common among all the different religions and what are some of the differences, if any? 

Of course, if we can define religion, then there must be some common threads.  You will address a number of questions regarding the objective information in reference to the study of the philosophy of religion.

 Communication

 Please ask any questions or make comments you have about the course as we continue through the semester, and especially at the outset.   Email questions or comments via your UTPB Email only to me at johnson_ke@utpb.edu.  For security reasons I will not answer Emails from any Email source other than UTPB addresses.  This helps in preventing spam as well as viruses.  Be sure to have a PHIL subject heading and a word or two about the subject matter.   Questions during class do assess toward your participation as do Emails.  Note Well (NB, nota bene), that I will not address questions answered in the content of the syllabus.

 Teaching Philosophy

Philosophy, transculturally and especially in the context of the western tradition, is the foundation of all academic disciplines. First philosophers were literary critics, poets, mathematicians, scientists, artists, politicians, religious thinkers, gamers, and psychologists.  Philosophy is the source, the generator, the mother and the father of almost everything that you learn. It is as relevant today as it was yesterday.  All philosophers are not ‘old, dead white guys’.  Many of the readings and questions as well as the material we will discuss will challenge you and hopefully provide you with an education.  The more you are educated, whether you agree with things that you learn or not, the more you change, even if your “core” ideas remain.   Philosophy is a reflective discipline and requires a great deal of time and effort to “gel”, and, you may find yourself reflecting later in life about things that we touch on here and now.  This will grant you the opportunity to not only understand other aspects of difficult issues but also a greater self-awareness.

 Course Prerequisites

This is a sophomore level class.  All prerequisites as mandated by the university and the UT system are followed. 

Course Description:

 This is an introduction to philosophical thinkers, ideas, and methods and fulfills core course requirements of UTPB.  Introduction to Philosophy addresses the basics of informal and formal logic -- briefly, epistemology (the first philosophy according to Descartes) or theories of knowledge, metaphysics, questions of religion, and ethics (distinguished clearly from morals).  Philosophy deals with the “big questions” and is the generative force (mother and father) of all academic disciplines.

 Course Credit: This is a lecture based, 3 credit course.

 Computer Requirements

All students should have access to a PC, Apple or Laptop with Microsoft Word 2007 or higher.  This is for the purpose of writing your papers and accessing some websites used for the course including reading and lecture sites.  Accordingly, Internet access is needed and computer literacy is required in colleges and universities accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.  Be sure to save copies of all of your work for this class in more than one place as computer failure or repairs is not a reason for not submitting work. Your computer internet issues are not a reason or excuse for missing assignments; accordingly, always have an alternative.

  

ADA Statement

Students with Disabilities are responsible for registering with the Office of Student Disabilities Services in order to receive special accommodations and services. Please notify me during the first week of classes if a reasonable accommodation for a disability is needed for this course. A letter from the UTPB/ADA office must accompany this request. The ADA office is located in the Testing Services and Academic Accommodations office. Telephone: (432) 552-2630

 Participation

It is important that you participate in class regularly.  I understand being shy but one of the most important things in educational process is the creative exchange of ideas. Education also necessarily brings about self-change and in that respect can be challenging.  You may think it is about gainful employment but it is much more than that if you are truly educated in the academic process; accordingly, plan on speaking in class and reading the assignments ahead.  Always try to stay ahead.  You are responsible for what you read and I will guide you through the data.  Just before St. Augustine converted to Christianity when his mother Monica was urging him to do so, he took a bible of his day (not the same as you may read today), and the first thing he read was, “Take up and read.”  Heed these words.  There is no video or iTune that thinks for you, yet.  LOL

 Plagiarism

I do not tolerate plagiarism in any fashion so always cite your sources clearly and specifically – see example provided at the end to the syllabus – and do not use other sources.  Other sources for background reading are fine but unacceptable for citing in your work unless otherwise stated.  You may use Chicago, MLA or Turabian style citations.  I do not accept APA.  See the student guide regarding plagiarism, copied for you here.  This is found in section 1.3 of the Student Conduct requirements of the university.  It states, “1.31.25 "Plagiarism" includes, but is not limited to, the appropriation of, buying, receiving as a gift, or obtaining by any means material that is attributable in whole or in part to another source, including words, ideas, illustrations, structure, computer code, other expression and media, and presenting that material as one’s own academic work being offered for credit.  1.31.26 "Collusion" includes, but is not limited to, the unauthorized collaboration with another person in preparing academic assignments offered for credit or collaboration with another person to commit a violation of any section of the rules of scholastic dishonesty.”  [http://www.utpb.edu/campus-life/dean-of-students/student-conduct/section-1-3]  Any student who plagiarizes any work is subject to 1) receiving a 00 on the assignment, 2) failure of the course, and 3) being reported to the academic dean of your department as well as the dean of student affairs.  If you are not yet program placed, such events will be reported to the dean of student affairs. 

 

 



 

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UTPB Smarthinking Online Tutoring: is a service that The University of Texas of the Permian Basin is making available to all its students.  This is a tutoring service in various subjects provided through online chats and emails.  Use your Blackboard credentials to login onto your smarthinking account https://www.smarthinking.com

 Textbook

Course Materials
-------------------------
Chaffee, The Philosopher's Way (REVEL Access Card), 5th Edition, ISBN: 9780133882100
THIS IS REQUIRED (It is available in hard copy and electronic versions)

 Some General Rules of Order

 I suggest you take notes on all your readings, write in your books and use AVID methods if you are familiar with them.


  1. No late assignments will be accepted.

  2. Keep copies of your work, hard copies if you prefer and at least two electronic back-ups.

  3. Buy the book. If you cannot buy the book, do not take the class.

  4. After the end of the semester, there is no way to improve your grade.

  5. You are responsible for all materials assigned.

  6. Plagiarism will not be tolerated and will constitute an immediate failure of the course.

  7. Reading assignments begin immediately and do not stop.

This is a reading, writing, thinking and applying intensive course. There are no “canned” answers.  There are two written assignments: an individual paper based a the choice of an assigned reading which must be 1,000 words 4 pages in length (minimum), formatted in Chicago, Turabian or MLA, double-spaced, no title pages, and only your name in the upper right hand corner of the paper, double space and begin.  Pages must be stapled in the upper right hand corner and I do not bring a stapler to class. I prefer that you do not use contractions when writing and there must be at least 10 citations in the work for the assigned reading.  The second writing assignment is a group paper from a choice of assigned topics, 1,250 words, six pages (minimum), and the criteria above.  See the descriptions at the end of the syllabus.

GRADING

Grades will be determined on a ten percentile basis; i.e. 100-90 = A,

89-80 = B, et cetera.

No student will receive a grade lower than s/he deserves numerically. Your grade will be determined by your raw score; points earned divided by possible points.

Your grade will be determined by the quality of your work in the following areas;

one independent major discussion/topic on an epistemological, or metaphysical work (Daniel Quinn’s Ishmael or Voltaire’s Candide) respectively. It will be 1,000 words (minimum, 4 pages Times Roman, 12 font), cotiation from the books supporting your argument. THESE ARE NOT BOOK SUMMARIES OR REPORTS! The discussion for the analysis must be submitted for approval by the fourth week of class, in one to three paragraphs (at least one page), stating the topic, a justification for the topic and what you plan to explore.  In the field of epistemology regarding Daniel Quinn’s book Ishmael you can easily analyze our own epistemological framework and what we consider knowledge assumptions of our culture.  These assumptions cry out to be questioned.  Voltaire’s Candide, and how he sardonically questions the very ideas of our metaphysical outlooks among other things. Is the other possibility.  [Please see end of syllabus for additional approaches to these novels.]  The individual discussion is worth 15 points.

Two, a group project, with a minimum of 3 colleagues, is required and your choice of topic is required by the fourth week of class with the same stipulations noted in the individual project. For this paper and presentation you must submit an ethical dilemma to be analyzed using three different ethical theories from three different cultural background, utilize 3 scholarly books (primary sources) and 6 peer reviewed articles.  You must discover positions from at least three different cultures advancing your position, or noting the differences between your position and what you find.  You must also address what this analysis provides you with in acting socially responsible in the context of your personal like, your social life in the context of the nation as well as your responsibility to the world. All of this is set in the context of your social responsibilities concerning this dilemma (the one your group addresses).

Discuss from a philosophical framework your personal responsibilities and actions from an ethical school of thought. 

Your discussion should address the topic from different cultural perspectives and environmental concerns.  Each individual student in a group will be responsible for writing and sharing one ethical theory on the issue and will include in your separate paper, the introduction and conclusions of the group; thus, each student will submit a 1,000 - 1,250 word essay.  Your individual paper will include the intro, theory you are covering, responsibilities and actions as well as conclusion.  You will present the group paper together emphasizing your chosen theory.  [Please see end of syllabus for possible approaches.]  This project is worth 25 points.

Three, you will be given objective quizzes throughout the semester which will constitute a total of 40 points toward your final grade. Quizzes will contain 10 – 15 questions each, be administered the first ten minutes of the first day of every week.  No longer than 10 minutes will be allowed so do not be late to class.  No make-up opportunities are available unless, for some reason, the university is closed due to inclement weather or other university emergencies.

Four, regular, active, and informed overall participation including questions, reasoned comments and relevant observations in class will constitute 20 points

[Regular, active, participation means that you are engaged in the conversations and discussions.]


  1. If you plagiarize anything in writing your assignments you will fail the assignment with 00 points so be sure you know what plagiarism means. I do not bend on this at all.

 Grades:

 Individual Paper                    15 points



Group Project/Paper              25 Points

Quizzes/Exams                        40 Points

Participation                           20 Points

Total                                       100 Points

Tentative Schedule (The two writing assignments are located at the end of the syllabus): Followed by Grading Rubrics for Communication. Critical thinking, Personal Responsibility and Social Responsibility



UNIT I: BACKGROUND, CHAFFEE CHAPTERS 1 AND 2

· 1: What is philosophy? Thinking Philosophically about Life



  • Introduction: what is philosophy?

  • 1.1: Why Study Philosophy?

  • 1.2: Defining Philosophy

  • 1.3: Thinking Philosophically: Becoming a Critical Thinker

  • 1.4: Understanding Arguments

  • 1.5: Branches of Philosophy

  • Shared Writing: How Do You Know What Is True?

  • 1.6: Reading Critically: Working with Primary Sources

  • Making Connections: The Search for a Meaningful Life

  • Chapter Review and Additional Resources: what is philosophy?

  • Chapter 1 Quiz: what is philosophy? Thinking Philosophically about Life

· 2: What is the philosopher's way? Socrates and the Examined Life

  • Introduction: what is the philosopher's way?

  • 2.1: Socrates: A Model for Humanity

  • 2.2: The Socratic Method

  • 2.3: Socrates' Central Concern: The Soul

  • 2.4: The Trial and Death of Socrates

  • Making Connections: Socrates' Legacy

  • Shared Writing: Is Socrates Relevant Today?

  • Chapter Review and Additional Resources: what is the philosopher's way?

  • Chapter 2 Quiz: what is the philosopher's way? Socrates and the Examined Life

UNIT II: EPISTEMOLOGY, CHAFFEE CHAPTERS 4 - 6

4: Are you free? Freedom and Determinism



  • Introduction: are you free?

  • 4.1: Are You the Master of Your Fate?

  • Shared Writing: What Are Your Assumptions about Freedom?

  • 4.2: Determinism

  • 4.3: Compatibilism

  • 4.4: Indeterminism and Libertarianism

  • 4.5: A Feminist Analysis of Freedom

  • 4.6: Neuroscience and Free Will

  • Making Connections: Creating a Synthesis

  • Chapter Review and Additional Resources: are you free?

  • Chapter 4 Quiz: are you free? Freedom and Determinism

· 5: How can we know the nature of reality? Philosophical Foundations

  • Introduction: how can we know the nature of reality?

  • 5.1: What Is the Nature of Reality?

  • Shared Writing: What Is Your Concept of Reality?

  • 5.2: Reality Is the Eternal Realm of the Forms: Plato

  • 5.3: Reality Is the Natural World: Aristotle

  • 5.4: Can Reality Be Known? Descartes

  • Making Connections: Your Beliefs about the World

  • Chapter Review and Additional Resources: how can we know the nature of reality?

  • Chapter 5 Quiz: how can we know the nature of reality? Philosophical Foundations

· 6: What is real? what is true? Further Explorations

  • Introduction: what is real? what is true?

  • 6.1: Questioning Independent Reality

  • 6.2: All Knowledge Comes from Experience: Locke

  • 6.3: Reality Depends on Perception: Berkeley

  • 6.4: Understanding Reality Demands Skepticism: Hume

  • 6.5: We Constitute Our World: Kant

  • 6.6: Feminist Perspectives on Epistemology

  • Making Connections: Developing Informed Beliefs

  • Shared Writing: What Are the Limits of Your Knowledge?

  • Chapter Review and Additional Resources: what is real? what is true?

  • Chapter 6 Quiz: what is real? what is true? Further Explorations

UNIT III: ETHICS, CHAFFEE CHAPTERS 8 - 10

8: Are there moral truths? Thinking about Ethics



  • Introduction: are there moral truths?

  • 8.1: Your Moral Compass

  • 8.2: Ethical Relativism

  • Shared Writing: How Subjective Are Your Ethics?

  • 8.3: Ethical Absolutism: Some Moral Values Are Universal

  • 8.4: Egoism as a Universal Principle

  • 8.5: Religion and Universal Values

  • Making Connections: On Becoming an Ethical Person

  • Chapter Review and Additional Resources: are there moral truths?

  • Chapter 8 Quiz: are there moral truths? Thinking about Ethics

· 9: What are the right actions? Constructing an Ethical Theory

  • Introduction: what are the right actions?

  • 9.1: Expanding Your Knowledge of Moral Philosophy: Character and Virtue Ethics

  • 9.2: Maxims: Duty to Moral Laws

  • 9.3: Consequences: Utilitarianism

  • 9.4: Authenticity: Existentialist Ethics

  • 9.5: Empathy: The Ethics of Care

  • 9.6: Environmental Ethics

  • 9.7: Narrative Ethics

  • Making Connections: Your Moral Compass Revisited

  • Shared Writing: Constructing an Ethical Theory

  • Chapter Review and Additional Resources: what are the right actions?

  • Chapter 9 Quiz: what are the right actions? Constructing an Ethical Theory

· 10: What is social justice? Creating a Just State

  • Introduction: what is social justice?

  • 10.1: Elements of a Just Society

  • Shared Writing: Examining Our Society

  • 10.2: Classical Theories of Society: Confucius, Plato, and Aristotle

  • 10.3: Justice Depends on a Social Contract: From Hobbes and Locke to Rawls

  • 10.4: Justice Is Based on Need and Ability: Marx and Engels

  • 10.5: Justice Is What Promotes the General Welfare: Mill

  • 10.6: Justice Is What Promotes Gender Equality: Okin

  • Making Connections: An Ideal Society

  • Chapter Review and Additional Resources: what is social justice?

  • Chapter 10 Quiz: what is social justice? Creating a Just State

UNIT IV: METAPHYSICS

3: who are you? Consciousness, Identity, and the Self


  • Introduction: who are you?

  • 3.1: Know Thyself?

  • 3.2: The Soul Is Immortal: Socrates and Plato

  • 3.3: Philosophical Perspectives During the Middle Ages

  • 3.4: Descartes' Modern Perspective on the Self

  • 3.5: The Self Is Consciousness: Locke

  • Shared Writing: Applying Locke's Ideas

  • 3.6: There Is No Self: Hume

  • 3.7: We Construct the Self: Kant

  • 3.8: The Self Is Multilayered: Freud

  • 3.9: The Self Is How You Behave: Ryle

  • 3.10: The Self Is the Brain: Physicalism

  • 3.11: The Self Is Embodied Subjectivity: Husserl and Merleau-Ponty

  • 3.12: Buddhist Concepts of the Self

  • Making Connections: In Search of the Self

  • Chapter Review and Additional Resources: who are you?

  • Chapter 3 Quiz: who are you? Consciousness, Identity, and the Self

· 4: are you free? Freedom and Determinism

  • Introduction: are you free?

  • 4.1: Are You the Master of Your Fate?

  • Shared Writing: What Are Your Assumptions about Freedom?

  • 4.2: Determinism

  • 4.3: Compatibilism

  • 4.4: Indeterminism and Libertarianism

  • 4.5: A Feminist Analysis of Freedom

  • 4.6: Neuroscience and Free Will

  • Making Connections: Creating a Synthesis

  • Chapter Review and Additional Resources: are you free?

  • Chapter 4 Quiz: are you free? Freedom and Determinism

7: is there a spiritual reality? Exploring the Philosophy of Religion

  • Introduction: is there a spiritual reality?

  • 7.1: Thinking Philosophically about Religious Beliefs

  • 7.2: What Is Religion?

  • 7.3: A Brief Survey of World Religions

  • Shared Writing: Expanding Your Religious Understanding

  • 7.4: Can We Prove the Existence of God?

  • 7.5: The Problem of Evil

  • 7.6: Faith and Religious Experience

  • Making Connections: Reflections on the Philosophy of Religion

  • Chapter Review and Additional Resources: is there a spiritual reality?

Chapter 7 Quiz: is there a spiritual reality? Exploring the Philosophy of Religion

 A few words about papers and sources

             To develop a paper you should be able to write a clear introduction, what the paper is about.  You should be able to develop “what the paper is about” in a series of supporting or refuting paragraphs.  From the supporting/refuting paragraphs, come to a conclusion and indicate the resulting actions, understanding or implications of the conclusion.

            Sources such as the Tanakh, Novum Testamentum, Apocrypha, Bhagavad Gita, Rig Veda, Guru Granth Sahib, Book of Mormon, Qu’ran, Agamas, Zend Avesta, et cetera, are not acceptable sources for this class.  The primary reason is that they often result in circular arguments as they are sources that are, necessarily the premise and the conclusion of the arguments; i.e. the source is accepted as correct and supplies the premises of the argument and the conclusion.  A=A which tells us nothing except a tautology.

            Also remember, logically you cannot prove a negative and universals – something that applies to ALL – is also difficult to demonstrate…(“All people are bad,” or “All people are good” because we do not know all people – past, present and future.)

Individual Assignments AND Group Assignments

 A) You will notice as you develop more knowledge about the fundamentals of philosophy that there are areas in each philosophical subcategory that overlap and that the novels are germane to more than one discipline. This is the case with Ishmael.

This novel can be used in metaphysics as well as epistemology and to an extent political philosophy.  Be sure to read Chaffee’s, chapters on 'Epistemology' (12-18).

One of the most important things that Ishmael asks of his student and Quinn asks of us, is to ask questions of the things that surround us especially our own cultural biases. We have a certain tendency to accept that which is before us and this acceptance is a great part of our epistemological framework.

Discuss at least three or more different things that Ishmael asks us to question and how we can address all three or more questions from three perspectives of epistemology addressed by Chaffee.

Be sure to document your answers from this reading and with citations including author and page number(s). Approach all three or more ideas that you discuss from all three perspectives.  Remark on the citations you use.  You should realize that you do need to document Quinn's Ishmael thoroughly with page numbers from throughout the book in support of your discussion.

OR

 B) Read Voltaire’s Candide and address the following and apply these chapters from Chaffee, chapters on Metaphysics, Epistemology and Philosophy of Religion (7, 15, 24, and 25)



  Watch the following link that leads to a lecture on the fresco "The School of Athens" and is Raphael's homage to the ancient philosophers some of whom you read about and others not.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uOrG6jfBzEU

 

       Pay close attention to the details about Plato and Aristotle (portrayed in the center and at the highest positions) and their influence. Plato is the elder as Aristotle was his student. Note how Plato is pointing up and Aristotle is pointing out. These are symbolic of their metaphysics.



       First, explain how these symbols represent their metaphysics (use Chaffee but the lecture will give you a great deal of information that you can find in the text).
       Second, discuss which characters from Candide best represent Plato and Aristotle's views on metaphysics.
       Third -- the extended portion of the discussion -- discuss at least five metaphysical issues that Voltaire makes fun of in the content of Candide.
       The individual project minimum: 1,000 words, and include a total of 8 citations from Candide and 7 from Chaffee in support of your essay.

       The paper must be properly documented, well-written, contain no cover pages, be stapled in the upper left-hand corner (before class), double-spaced, New Times Roman 12 font. 

Your paper proposal/prospectus must be submitted by Monday, on or before the 4th week of class.  Papers are due on or before Monday, the 11th week of class. 

All topics must be approved by the professor.



Group Writing Assignment, Topics: Working together with an emphasis on Ethical Theories.  At least three different ethical systems must be employed in the analysis of this paper (depending on the number of students in the group).

  1. Your group may choose a topic but it must be approved by the professor…some suggestions are listed below.

  2. All forms and benefits of government health subsidies and health insurance should cease once a person reaches the age of 75.

  3. We cannot own anything.

  4. If the concept of pre-determinism is accurate, there is no free will.

  5. As long as there are governments, there is no freedom.

  6. The phrase, “humans play god” is meaningless except for the idea that it is emotional.

  7. Reason is unreasonable as are universal concepts of morality.

  8. The concept of “best” (musician, dancer, student, politician, physician, book, et cetera) is misguided.

  9. Life is not precious.

  10. There are approximately 15,000 professional athletes in the United States who collectively earn $321 billion dollars. There are approximately 6.2 million teachers in the United States and they collectively earn $341 billion dollars.  Explain why this is socially unconscionable.

  11. Education is both conservative and liberal.

  12. Women are superior to men in all areas except legal equality, and this inequality is a transcultural phenomenon in laws enacted by men (consider at least 2 other cultures other than what you may argue concerning the United States AND, they must be from 1) different continents and 2) not have English as the dominant language). [There are a few communal and cosmic-centered traditions that are exceptions to the equality/inequality issue.]

  13. Some people in the United States criticize other forms of government in which they do not participate. If you do not vote, can you criticize the government of the United States since your criticism is an act of participation?

  14. Can one take actions effectively without thought, an understanding of the consequences and an understanding of possible consequences supposedly “unimaginable” at the time of the action?

  15. Kant maintained that you can know the character of a person by the way they treat their dog. What is the “big deal” about animal rights?  How far does that go?

  16. The state of Texas is known for what some feel are “relaxed” regulations on businesses and corporations. What are the effects of these ideas? 

       The group projects minimum: 1,250 words, 3 scholarly books, 6 peer reviewed articles, a separate commentary (paper) by each member, on the other member’s contribution (at least a full page, be exacting). 

       The paper must be properly documented, well-written, contain no cover pages, be stapled in the upper left-hand corner (before class), double-spaced, New Times Roman 12 font, there must be a minimum of three group members and your paper proposal prospectus must be submitted on or before Monday, the 4th week of class.  Papers are due or before Friday, the 13th week of class.  The paper must include conclusions as well as the consequences resulting from the conclusions without committing and informal fallacies.

       The paper must include all group member names in the upper left-hand corner of the paper, one space and then begin. 

       The professor will determine the groups OR, you may decide among yourselves IFF (if and only if) you are able to submit a group list by the 3rd class meeting; Friday the first week of class.  Otherwise groups will be assigned the first Monday, week 4. Be sure to exchange contact information with your group.

             In the group project you, as students, will demonstrate, TEAMWORK in submitting the resulting paper together, PERSONAL and measured RESPONSIBILITY, by working with others and writing a brief analysis of each member’s contribution, COMMUNICATION SKILLS and ETHICS, by submitting a positioned analysis of the subject that is well informed, thought out, expressed, documented, and demonstrating critical thought and the resulting consequences of your conclusions.

             In the group project you, as students, will demonstrate application of, PERSONAL and measured RESPONSIBILITY, COMMUNICATION SKILLS and ETHICAL Theories, by submitting a positioned analysis of the subject that is well informed, thought out, expressed, documented, and demonstrating critical thought and the resulting consequences of your conclusions.

 

GRADING RUBRICS:

Communications Assessment Rubric

THECB says that Communication Skills include effective development, interpretation and expression of ideas in written oral and visual communication.

We define the terms thusly:

Expression of Ideas—represents the expression of a thesis or main idea in a rhetorical context where the communiqué seeks to persuade a specific audience in a specific context to achieve a specific, clearly defined purpose.

Interpretation—represents the use of supporting evidence that serves to elucidate, illustrate, and make persuasive the main point of the piece of communication. This includes verbal and nonverbal means of persuasion such as written texts and visual aids.

Development—represents formal aspects of communication such as effective focus, organization, style, and other aspects of delivery used to achieve the intended purpose clearly and persuasively. To implement a grading rubric for the artifacts to be assessed, we are also adopting these terms:

Focus—is the extent to which the content of the essay/presentation corresponds to the thesis statement. In other words, good focus means that the thesis statement drives the whole document. Each section, then, focuses on presenting and arguing the thesis statement with logical reasoning, supportive evidence, and correct documentation.

Organization—relates to the order in which ideas are presented in support of the thesis statement.

The introduction, body, and conclusion are developed in a logical, sequential order with clear transitions, and evidence is organized within each section.

An artifact with good development includes supportive reasoning and evidence that build on each other as the document unfolds.

Assignment’s Requirements—relate to what the instructor has set forth in the assignment.

A communications artifact can be delivered well in all aspects and not respond to the assignment.

Style—is the way in which words and sentences are put together.

It involves word choice, sentence structure, and tone appropriate for the rhetorical situation.

Different styles can be effective in different genres; however, any style in academic communication should demonstrate control of sentence-level errors such as grammar problems, misspellings, improper use of punctuation, articulation, and vocal pauses.

Vocal Delivery—includes elements such as volume, variety, fluency, rate, pronunciation, articulation, and vocal pauses.

Nonverbal Communication—includes aspects such as eye contact, gestures, movement, vitality, facial expressions, and proper use of lectern and visual aids where appropriate.

Communication Skills Rubric Excellent (5 points) Good (4 points) Competent (3 points) Marginal (2 points) Poor (1 point)

Focus

Includes all elements that build upon the thesis.



Includes all elements that effectively support the thesis

Has a clear thesis but one or two digressive or unsupportive elements

Involves a missing thesis and/or insufficient support Involves a missing thesis, no support, and/or plagiarized evidence

Organization

Has an effectively creative pattern of development Has a clear and consistent pattern of development

Has a few minor problems (missing transition, short introduction and/or conclusion, etc.)

Involves missing transitions, introduction, and/or conclusion

Rambles from one thing to another with no attempt at a consistent development

Assignments Requirements

Enhances the assignment

Responds clearly to the assignment

Meets the assignments requirements

Ignores several requirements

Does not meet the majority of requirements

Style

Has flair for style with sustained grammatical accuracy



Has an effective style for the rhetorical situation with few interfering sentence level errors

Has an inconsistent style and/or sentence-level errors, but meaning is not compromised

Has an obstructive style and/or contains sentence level errors that begin to hoard the reader’s attention

Has an offensive style and/or includes sentence-level errors that are glaring throughout the presentation and meaning is lost

Vocal Delivery (If oral presentation)

Is artful in the use of delivery and style Is presented extemporaneously and conversationally without vocalized pauses (IE: um, er, like, you know)

Is presented extemporaneously with adequate vocal variety

Is stiff with little vocal variety

Is obviously unrehearsed in its delivery

Nonverbal (If oral presentation)

Has eye contact with the majority of the audience and mannerisms that enhance the speech

Has eye contact with the majority of the audience and mannerisms that enhance the speech

Has adequate eye contact and mannerisms that neither distract nor enhance

Is very dependent on notes and has some distracting mannerisms

Is reading and mannerisms distract

Critical Thinking Rubric QEP Terms CT Core Objective Terms Paul and Elder Terms Not Evident Emerging Competent Excellent 1 2 3 4

Clarify Creative Thinking Assumptions

Fails to identify assumptions; makes invalid assumptions Fails to identify assumptions, or fails to explain them, or the assumptions identified are irrelevant, not clearly stated, and/or invalid

Identifies the assumptions; Makes valid assumptions Accurately identifies assumptions (things taken for granted); makes assumptions that are consistent, reasonable, valid Point of View

Ignores or superficially evaluates alternate points of view, cannot separate own vested interests and feelings when evaluating other points of view

May identify other points of view but struggles with maintaining fair mindedness; may focus on irrelevant or insignificant points of view

Identifies and evaluates relevant points of view. Is fair in examining those views Identifies and evaluates relevant, significant points of view.

Is empathic, fair in examining all relevant points of view

Collect Inquiry Information Relies on insufficient, irrelevant, or unreliable information. Fails to identify or hastily dismisses strong, relevant counter-arguments. Confuses information and inferences drawn from that information.

Gathers some credible information, but not enough; some information may be irrelevant. Omits significant information, including some strong counter arguments. Sometimes confuses information and the inferences drawn from it.

Gathers sufficient, credible, and relevant information. Includes information from opposing views. Distinguishes between information and inferences drawn from it

Gathers sufficient, credible, relevant information; observations, statements, logic, data, facts, questions, graphs, themes, assertions, descriptions, etc.

Includes information that opposes as well as supports the argued position. Distinguishes between information and inferences drawn from that information

Concepts Misunderstands key concepts or ignores relevant key concepts altogether Identifies some (not all) key concepts, but use of concepts is superficial and inaccurate at times Identifies and accurately explains and uses key concepts, but not with the depth and precision of

“Excellent” Identifies and accurately explains/uses the relevant key concepts

Consider Analysis Question at issue

Fails to define clearly the issue or problem; does not recognize the core issues. Fails to maintain a fairminded approach toward the problem

Defines the issue, but poorly (superficially, narrowly); may overlook some core issues. Has trouble maintaining a fair minded approach toward the problem

Defines the issue; identifies the core issues, but may not fully explore their depth and breadth. Demonstrates fair-mindedness

Clearly defines the issue or problem; accurately identifies the core issues. Appreciates depth and breadth of the problem. Demonstrates fair mindedness toward a problem

Innovation Purpose

Does not clearly understand the purpose of the assignment. Is not completely clear about the purpose of the assignment

Demonstrates an understanding of the assignment’s purpose Demonstrates a clear understanding of the assignments purpose

Conclude Evaluation Interpretations

Uses superficial, simplistic, or irrelevant reasons and unjustifiable claims Does follow some evidence to conclusions

Follows where evidence and reason lead to obtain justifiable, and logical conclusions

Follows where evidence and reason lead in order to obtain defensible, thoughtful, logical conclusions or solutions

Synthesis Inferences

Makes illogical, inconsistent inferences.

Exhibits closedmindedness or hostility to reason; regardless of the evidence, maintains or defines views based on self-interest

Inferences are more often than not unclear, illogical, inconsistent, and/or superficial

Makes valid inferences, but not with the same depth as

“Excellent” Makes deep rather than superficial inferences. Makes inferences that are consistent with one another

Implications, Consequences

Ignores significant implications and consequences of reasoning Has trouble identifying significant implications and consequences; identifies improbable implications

Identifies significant implications and consequences and distinguishes probable from improbable implications, but not with the same insight and precision of

“Excellent” Identifies the most significant implications and consequences of the reason (whether positive and/or negative).

Distinguishes probable from improbable implications

1= Thinking is unskilled and insufficient, marked by imprecision, lack of clarity, superficiality, illogicality, and inaccuracy and unfairness

2=Thinking is inconsistent, ineffective; shows a lack of consistent competence; is often unclear, imprecise, inaccurate, and superficial

3=Thinking is competent, effective, accurate and clear, but lacks the exemplary depth, precision, and insight of 4

4=Thinking is exemplary, skilled, marked by excellence in clarity, accuracy, precision, relevance, depth, breadth, logicality, and fairness



Personal Responsibility

Personal Responsibility:

Students will demonstrate the ability to connect choices, actions, and consequences to ethical decision-making recognizing the importance of responsible behavior on society.

The artifacts by which students will be evaluated are left to the discretion of the instructor.

Students will provide evidence of fulfilling this objective by means of:

Identification … the extent to which they understand the nature of inquiry.

Identification clearly pinpoints what information is being sought and what kind of analysis is necessary.

Connections … the use of research or content knowledge to enhance and clarify the argument/discussion.

Response … the extent to which a meaningful, personal connection is made to the ethical issues.

Foundational Component Areas:

Communication, Language, Philosophy & Culture, American History, and Government/Political Science.

Benchmark: 70% of all students’ responses will have a score of 3 or higher.

Personal Responsibility Assessment Rubric

Excellent 4 Competent 3 Emerging 2 Not Evident 1

Identification Student demonstrates a sophisticated understanding of complex ethical issues and recognition of diverse ethnic and cultural values

Student demonstrates an adequate understanding of complex ethical issues and recognition of diverse ethnic and cultural values

Student demonstrates partial understanding of complex ethical issues and recognition of diverse ethnic and cultural values

Student fails to demonstrate understanding of complex ethical issues and recognition of diverse ethnic and cultural values

Connections Student uses sophisticated research AND incorporates content knowledge from the areas under study to enhance and clarify ethical quandaries

Student uses acceptable research AND incorporates content knowledge from the areas under study to enhance and clarify ethical quandaries

Student uses acceptable research OR incorporates content knowledge from the areas under study to enhance and clarify ethical quandaries

Student fails to use research or content knowledge to enhance or clarify ethical quandaries

Response

Student identifies connections to personal values, can thoroughly articulate an argument showing understanding of the ethical quandaries, AND shows respect for the rights of others

Student identifies connections to personal values, can effectively articulate an argument showing understanding of the ethical quandaries, AND shows respect for the rights of others

Student identifies some vague connections to personal values, can adequately articulate an argument showing understanding of the ethical quandaries, AND shows some respect for the rights of others

Student fails to identify connections to personal values, is unable to articulate an argument showing understanding of the ethical quandaries, AND shows little respect for the rights of others

Core Objective Information for Core Curriculum Assessment Social Responsibility (THECB Description for Core Curriculum Assessment) … to include intercultural competence, knowledge of civic responsibility, and the ability to engage effectively in regional, national, and global communities.

Students will demonstrate an understanding of the knowledge, skills, and values that promote the quality of life in a community, through both political and non-political processes.

Students will provide evidence of their becoming socially responsible citizens by means of:  Intercultural Competence–

Students will demonstrate an understanding of the complexity of elements important to members of another culture in relation to its history, values, policies, communication styles, economy, or beliefs and practices.  Integrating Academic Work with Community Engagement – Students will provide a tangible product that has engaged community constituents and responded to community needs and assets through the process. Benchmark: 70% of all students’ responses will have a score of 3 or higher. Social Responsibility Assessment Rubric Students must be assessed in at least two of the following three measurements:



Excellent 4 Competent 3 Emerging 2 Not Evident 1 intercultural competence Student can demonstrate sophisticated understanding of the complexity of elements important to members of another culture in relation to its history, values, policies, communication styles, economy, or beliefs and practices. Student can demonstrate adequate understanding of the complexity of elements important to members of another culture in relation to its history, values, policies, communication styles, economy, or beliefs and practices. Student can demonstrate partial understanding of the complexity of elements important to members of another culture in relation to its history, values, policies, communication styles, economy, or beliefs and practices. Student fails to demonstrate understanding of the complexity of elements important to members of another culture in relation to its history, values, policies, communication styles, economy, or beliefs and practices. The student’s response demonstrates a knowledge of civic responsibility and community engagement Student can demonstrate that he or she has engaged in detailed discussion of complex political, civic, and social issues, articulating connections between community issues and societal needs Student can demonstrate that he or she has engaged in discussion of political, civic, and social issues, making connections between community issues and societal needs Student can demonstrate knowledge of political, civic, and social issues but makes no connection between community needs and societal needs Student demonstrates no awareness or acknowledgement of what his or her civic responsibility entails


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