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Spring 2016

Tuesday/Thursday 12:30-1:50pm

Philosophy 41
Critical Thinking
Section: 2206

Instructor: Jennifer Smith

Office: TBA
Office Hours: 10-11am


Required Materials

An examination of logic and its practical application in everyday situations, including

problem solving, advertisement discrimination, political evaluation and argumentation.
Lecture. Transfer: CSU, UC General Education: (MJC-GE: D2) (CSU-GE: A3) (IGETC:

How to Think about Weird Things: Critical

Thinking for a New Age; Seventh Edition. By
Theodore Schick, Jr and Lewis Vaughn.
McGraw Hill.
ISBN: 978-0-07-803836-5


Understand and articulate the importance of thinking critically in everyday life

as well as in scholarly pursuits.
Define and recognize in application major argument patterns and their
Analyze and clearly articulate the structure and meanings of various common
types of argument.
Define and identify the appearance of illegitimate rhetorical devices, as they
appear in arguments.
Apply the fundamental concepts and techniques of both deductive and inductive
logic to the evaluation of arguments.
Construct logically effective arguments in a variety of situation.


Exam #1 (Categorical Syllogisms): 20%

Exam #2 (Propositional Arguments): 20%
Fallacies Paper: 20%
Final Exam (Science and Pseudoscience): 15%
Group Presentation: 15%
Homework and Participation: 10%

Important Dates
January 11, 2016

Spring Classes Begin

January 18, 2016

Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday

February 12, 2016

Lincoln Holiday
February 15, 2016

Washington Holiday
April 30, 2016

Spring Classes End

Late Work and Makeup Exams:

I do not accept late papers or give makeup exams. You will be informed in class well in
advance of each deadline and exam date and I will remind you frequently. Should you
miss class, it is your responsibility to find out what was missed and know when papers are

Critical Thinking
Section: 2206

Class Policies
PLAGIARISM: If you plagiarize work in this class you will receive a zero for that assignment and perhaps an F in the class at my
discretion. I may also report the infraction to the vice president of instruction at Modesto Junior College. The most common form
of plagiarism is taking articles, papers, or selections from a website-based source and presenting it as your own work or having
another student write a paper for you. Don't plagiarize!
CELL PHONES & LAPTOPS: unless the phone call is from me, I ask you to turn off your cell phones before entering class. No
texting, no emailing, no surfing, no movies, no music while in class. It's rude to me, it's rude to others, and it's usually obvious to
everyone around you, including me. No laptop use while in class, unless you sit in the front row.
EATING: you may eat in class if your food intake is minimal. Please do not bring noisy food to class.
OFFICE HOURS: If you are having difficulties in the course, come speak with me as soon as possible! Although I do not offer
office hours, I am available after class for extra help. I am also happy to arrange another time, or help via email.
ATTENDANCE: I reserve the right to drop students who have not attended for 3 consecutive class sessions as measured by HW
and in-class exercises.
STUDENT DISABILITIES: I will make every effort to work with students with disabilities. If you have a learning or other
disability you should let me know and as well sign up with the MJC Disability Services Center if you have not already done so.
Disability Services will assist students with disabilities in participating in college activities, securing financial aid, scheduling
classes and examinations, and planning careers. MJC Disability Services are located on the East Campus in the Journalism
Building 160 behind Founders Hall. Phone: (209) 575-6225; TTY: (209) 575-6863
CLASSROOM ETIQUETTE: Do not come to class late. Do not leave early. (Unless prior understanding has been made)
ADD/DROP: It is your responsibility, as a student, to officially enroll in the class.


Section I: Categorical Logic (a.k.a. syllogistic logic) which formed the basis of logic for over two thousand years is the study
of arguments whose constituent sentences express certain relations between classes (or categories) of things.
Section II: Propositional Logic (a.k.a. Boolean logic) is the study of arguments that depend on the a number of important sentenceconnecting expressions in ordinary language like and, or, and not expressions whose logic also lies at the foundation of modern
computer systems.
Section III: Fallacies are defects that weaken arguments. By learning to look for them in your own and others writing, you can
strengthen your ability to evaluate the arguments you make, read, and hear. It is important to realize two things about fallacies:
first, fallacious arguments are very, very common and can be quite persuasive, at least to the casual reader or listener. Second, it is
sometimes hard to evaluate whether an argument is fallacious. An argument might be very weak, somewhat weak, somewhat
strong, or very strong. An argument that has several stages or parts might have some strong sections and some weak ones.
Section IV: Science and its Pretenders In this section we will learn how to decide whether one theory is better than another when
there are good reasons to believe that both may be true. Students will be introduced to the criteria of adequacy as a method for
choosing one competing theory over another. Students will learn to tell the difference between science & pseudoscience by
applying the criteria of adequacy to a wide variety of real life examples.

Critical Thinking
Section: 2206

January 26
January 28

Classroom Topic:
Introduction to Class
Review Syllabus
Introduce Categorical Logic
Section 1.1: Categorical Propositions

February 2
February 4

Section 1.2: Categorical Syllogisms

February 9
February 11

Section 1.4: Reduce the Number of Terms

Section 1.3: Conv, Obv, & Contr.

Continue Reduce the Number of Terms

February 16
February 18

Review For Exam

February 23
February 25

Section 2.1: Symbols and Translations

-- Exam #1 --

Continue Symbols and Translations

March 1
March 3

Section 2.2: Truth Functions

March 8
March 10

Section 2.5: Indirect Truth Tables

Section 2.3 & 2.4: Truth Tables for


Section 2.6: Common arguments

March 15
March 17

Review for Exam

March 22
March 24

Spring Break No Class

March 29
March 31
Critical Thinking
Section: 2206

Reading Due that Day:

-- Exam #2 --

Spring Break No Class

Introduction to Fallacies

How to Think about Weird Things: Chapter 3

Continue Fallacies

Fallacies in Editorials / Critical Reading

How to Think about Weird Things: Chapter 4

Continue Fallacies in Editorials / Critical


How to Think about Weird Things: Chapter 5

April 12
April 14

Knowledge, Belief and Evidence

How to Think about Weird Things: Chapter 4

Truth in Personal Experience

How to Think about Weird Things: Chapter 5

April 19
April 21

Science and Pretenders

How to Think about Weird Things: Chapter 6

April 5
April 7

Continue Science and Pretenders

April 26
April 28

Continue Science and Pretenders

Science versus Pseudoscience

Class Website: Pseudoscience Reading

May 3
May 5

SEARCH Formula

How to Think about Weird Things: Chapter 7 (Only

read pages 222-225 and 283-288)

Application of Scientific Skepticism

May 10
May 12

Application of Scientific Skepticism

May 17
May 19

Group Time

May 26

Critical Thinking
Section: 2206

Application of Scientific Skepticism

Group Time

Final Exam 10am-12pm

Final Exam Due AND Group Presentations