Critical Thinking Phil-4 Fall ‘07 Class Times and Section #5 mw 1: 30 – 2: 45pm, alp-205 Locations



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Critical Thinking

Phil-4

Fall ‘07
Class Times and Section #5 MW 1:30 – 2:45pm, ALP-205

Locations Section #6 MW 3 – 4:15pm, DH-208

Instructor: David Denman

Email: denman@csus.edu

Office Hours: MW 12:15 – 1:15, SQU 312

Phone #: 278-4535 (email is better)


Course Description: A study of the basic skills of good reasoning needed for the intelligent and responsible conduct of life. Topics include: argument structure and identification, validity and strength of arguments, common fallacies of reasoning, use and abuse of language in reasoning, principles of fair play in argumentation.

Course Objectives: The primary goal of this course is to develop your critical thinking skills. These skills include recognizing, evaluating, and generating arguments, explanations, and definitions.
Required Text: The following text should be available at the campus bookstore.
The Power of Critical Thinking, 2nd Edition. Lewis Vaughn, Oxford University Press, NY 2007.
Grading: Your class grade will be calculated as follows:
Homework Journal: 30%

4 Exams: 10% each

A 3-5 Page Argumentative Paper: 10%

Participation: 20%


There will be 100 points total for the class, so each assignment will have the same number of points as its percentage of the class grade.
Scale:
A = 93-100pts C = 73-76pts
A- = 90-92pts C- = 70-72pts

B+ = 87-89pts D+ = 67-69pts

B = 83-86pts D = 63-66pts
B- = 80-82pts D- = 60-62pts

C+ = 77-79pts F = <60pts



Homework Journal: Students will be required to do book exercises nearly every week, as well as write a few short (1-2 pages) papers in preparation for the 3-5 page argumentative paper. Students will keep a journal or notebook specifically for these exercises. Journals will be corrected in class and collected by the instructor occasionally.
Exams: The class is divided into four sections (see schedule below). At the end of each section, there will be an exam over that material. The exams, including the final, will focus on the section just completed. The material in each section does build to some degree on earlier material, so the exams be in some sense cumulative. All exams will be a mixture of multiple-choice and short-answer questions.
Argumentative Paper: The class text includes several writing modules intended to help students learn to write argumentative essays. Students will work through these during the semester, submitting 3-4 short (1-2 page) pieces via their homework journal. On the last day of lecture, a 3-5 page, typewritten paper will be due. More information on this larger paper will be available as the shorter pieces begin to be assigned.
Participation: Your participation grade will be based on your demonstrated willingness to be involved in all in-class activities, such as discussion of class concepts, working through problem sets, or small group activities. Four or more absences (with the exception of documented emergencies) will cut the participation portion of your course grade in half, six absences will reduce it to a ‘0’. Tardiness will effect your grade in the following way: three ‘lates’ will be counted as the equivalent of an unexcused absence.
Make-up Work: All assignments are due at the beginning of class on the due date. Once lecture has begun on the due date, assignments are late. Assignments turned in late on the due date will be penalized 5%. Late assignments will be penalized 10% per day late thereafter. After three late days, acceptance of the assignment is at the instructor’s discretion. Allowances will be made for documented illness, or other family or personal emergencies. If you know you will not be able to make a deadline, you must arrange an alternative due date with me well before the assignment is due.
Classroom Behavior, Plagiarism, and other such issues: Plagiarism is a serious academic offence and will not be tolerated. Always use quotation marks and a footnote citation to indicate sentences or passages you borrow from another author. Assignments in which plagiarism is found will receive a zero (not just an F). You are responsible for reading and understanding the details of the University's plagiarism policy in the Student Handbook.
Disability Accommodation:
If you have a documented disability (visible or invisible) and require accommodation or assistance with assignments, tests, attendance, note taking, etc., notify me by the end of the second week of semester so that arrangements can be made. Failure to notify and consult with me by this date may impede my ability to offer you the necessary accommodation and assistance in a timely fashion.

Projected Schedule:
Section #1 Basics (Ch. 1-3)

9/5 Intro

9/10, 9/12 Ch 1

9/17, 9/19 Ch 2

9/24, 9/26 Ch 3

Exam#1
Section #2 Informal Reasoning (Ch. 4-5)

10/1, 10/3 Ch 4

10/8, 10/10 Ch 5

Exam #2
Section #3 Formal Reasoning (Ch. 6-8)

10/15, 10/17 Ch 6

10/22, 10/24 Ch 6

10/29, 10/31 Ch 7

11/5, 11/7 Ch 7

11/12*, 11/14 Ch 8

11/19, 11/21 Ch 8

Exam #3
Section #4 Scientific Reasoning (Ch. 9-10)

11/26, 11/28 Ch 9

12/3, 12/5 Ch 9

12/10, 12/12 Ch 10



Term Paper Due 12/12
Final for: Section #5: 12/17, 12:45 – 2:45pm

Section #6: 12/19, 3-5pm
Rough HW Guide*:
Section #1: Self-Assessment Tests 1-3

First Writing Assignment


Section #2 Self-Assessment Tests 4-5

Second and Third Writing Assignments


Section #3 Self-Assessment Tests 6-8 and 3 other exercises

Fourth Writing Assignment


Section #4 Self-Assessment Test 9

Term Paper


* There will generally be at least one assignment due each week, precise due dates will vary depending on what happens in class, as might the assignments. The self-assessment tests will come from the book, the writing assignments will differ from those in the book. There may be a 5th writing assignment. The tests, except for the final, may be take-home or in-class.

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