Philosophy-111 Critical Thinking And Writing:

Course Syllabus






Syllabus: Phil-111

Professor Mark McIntire

Office Hours:

Office hours for online students are by SKYPE/FACE TIME appointment
Office hour for onsite students is from 5-6 pm Thursday IDC Room 211



email me to set up a SKYPE/FACE TIME conference: Mark McIntire


Student Learning Outcomes:

Upon successful completion of this course the student should be able to:

1.Identify arguments:
......a)distinguish arguments from descriptions, explanations, exhortations, and
......b)identify premises and conclusions.

2. Distinguish knowledge from belief and factual claims from opinions.

3. Identify informal fallacies.

4. Distinguish between valid/invalid, sound/unsound, strong/weak, and/or good/bad arguments.

5. Analyze and evaluate arguments from a variety of sources in terms of structure, language use, type of reasoning, evidence offered, point of view, assumptions and implications.

6. Demonstrate proficiency (precision, clarity, organization) in argumentative writing, where positions are defended and ideas explored.
(Source: Philosophy Department Student Learning Outcomes)



Course Outline Topics:

The table below tracks our course topics and exams for these topics. It also has links to web page resources students may find helpful in mastering these concepts in addition to any textbooks used.

Text & Topics
Key Concepts

Web Links

Topic 1: Basic Logical Concepts

Exam #1 on all concepts on Topic 1
Exam date: TBA
What Logic Is. Propositions Sentences. Arguments, Premises, and Conclusions. Analyzing Arguments. Validity. Soundness. Induction. Deduction.

Phil. Pages
Phil. Pages

logic Puzzles

Topic 2: Informal Fallacies

Exam #2 on all concepts on Topic 2 (Latin names included)
Exam date: TBA
Informal Fallacies of: Relevance, Presumption, and Ambiguity.

Phil. Pages
Phil. Pages
Exercises & Quizzes


Topic 3: Categorical Propositions

Exam #3 on all concepts on Topic 3
Exam date: TBA
Categorical terms, propositions and arguments. Quantity & Quality of Propositions. Square of Opposition. Distribution of a Term.

Phil. Pages

Topic 4: Categorical Syllogisms

Exam #4 on all concepts on Topic 4
Exam date: TBA
Syllogistic Reasoning. Major, Minor and Middle terms. Immediate Inferences. Mood & Figure. Venn Diagrams. The Six Rules.

Phil. Pages
Phil. Pages
Phil. Pages

Syllogism Evaluator

Topic 5: Arguments in Ordinary Language
Translating every day language into categorical propositions and syllogisms

Phil. Pages


Topic 6: Symbolic Logic
Logical Symbols. Argument Forms. Statement Forms. Rules of Inference. Rules of Replacement.

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Phil. Pages
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Phil. Pages


Topic 7: Methods of Deduction
Prepositional (Symbolic Logic)  

Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Govier Text Quizzes

Topic 8: Inductive Inferences
Nature of Inductive Reasoning. Arguments and Refutation from Analogy. Cause and Effect Reasoning. Scientific Method. Mills Methods. Science and Hypothesis. Probability Theory.

Phil. Pages
Phil. Pages
Phil. Pages
Phil. Pages
Phil. Pages

Govier Text Quizzes


Topic 9: Causal Reasoning Defines the necessary and sufficient conditions for ' of something to be the 'cause' of some other thing.

Govier Text Quizzes

Topic 10: Analogical Reasoning Defines the necessary and sufficient conditions for successful entailment by analogical premises in an argument Govier Text Quizzes
Essays 1 & 2

Term Paper
Assigned in Class.


Final Exam
Final Exam: Format, Content, Date and Time to be announced in class

Review 1
Review 2



All written assignments are due at the beginning of class for real time students, and on the appointed dates for online students notified by email. Late assignments will be accepted with penalty only.

Since there are 16 weeks in the term, and there are 4 in class exams, plus 2 essays, you will have an exam or an assignment every two weeks in this course. Exact exam dates will be announced one week in advance.


Advisory! Your final grade is not merely a matter of quantitative "points" earned from exams, essays term paper and final refutation paper. Your diligent attendance as well as your ability to complete all assignments on time will be factored into your "final" grade for this course. But it will be your qualitative, demonstrated ability to formulate clear, valid and sound arguments with lines of refutation for those arguments that will determine your final grade in this course.

A few Examples of failed logical reasoning about grades:

"I get 'A's in all my other classes except this one.

"I need to pass this course in order to get my degree."

"I studied extra hard."

"I completed all of the assignments to the best of my ability."

"I read all the assigned material. Twice!"

"I've never taken a course like this before"

Grades will be determined by an accumulation of quantitative points and qualitative skill with assignments completed as assigned according to the following PLUS / MINUS POINTS OUT OF 1000 POINT criteria:

A (901-1000 points) Superior comprehension, analysis and presentation of all assigned course work together with thoughtful insights and reflections on course topics.......
901----940 = A - ... 941----950 = A....951---1000 = A +

B (801-900 points) Excellent comprehension, analysis and presentation of all assigned course work together with significant insights and reflections on course topics...... 801----840 = B - ... 841----850 = B....851----900 = B +

C (701-800 points) Adequate comprehension, analysis and presentation of all assigned course work together with appropriate insights and reflections on course topics.......701----740 = C- ... 741----750 = C....751----800 = C +

D (601-700 points) Inadequate comprehension, analysis and presentation of all assigned course work yet lacking insight and reflection on course topics.......................601----640 = D- ... 641----650 = D ....651----700 = D +

F (0-500 points) Fails to meet the minimum College/University standards for all required course work.

Argumentative Essays (2 @ 100 points ea.) = 200
Exams (4 @ 100 points ea.) = 400
Final Exam (200 points ea.) = 200
Term Paper (200 points) = 200

Policies and Procedures:

Class Participation: Absence from class will have a profound effect on your final grade. Successful students will be those who actively and effectively participate in the classroom discussions of topics from the text readings. Mere physical presence does not constitute active and effective participation. Students are encouraged to apply their critical thinking skills to contemporary topics during these discussions.

Disruptive Student Behavior: Any student exhibiting 'disruptive behaviors' as defined by the appropriate SBCC policies and published in the student handbook will be removed from class immediately and not allowed to return.

Make-up exams: Decisions on make-up exams will be made on a case by case basis and then only for just cause. There will be NO MAKE-UP for the final exam.

Term papers: Each student will write a 6-10 page term paper on an approved topic which applies the principles of critical thinking learned in this class. All papers must be word-processed, grammar and spell checked and use APA accepted format. Term papers are due on a date to be announced in class. They will be graded and returned, in class, in time for your final exam. Late papers will have 25 points deducted from the total 200 possible points. This will enable each student to know their grade point count before they take the final exam. TERM PAPERS WILL BE ACCEPTED BY EMAIL.

***ONLINE STUDENTS: Term papers are due on a date to be announced via e-mail. They will be graded and returned, via email, in time for your final exam.