S 103 Sample Syllabus

PHI 103
Sample Syllabus
A. Specific Course Information
Instructor Information
Dr. Jeffrey J. Watson
E-Mail Address
[email protected]
Office Hours
1:00 pm – 2:50 pm Fridays (walk-in)
or e-mail for appointment
(Please write “PHI 103” in the subject line)
Course Information
Meeting Times
9:00 am – 9:50 am, MWF
Meeting Dates
8/22/2013 - 12/6/2013
ED 320 – Tempe Campus
Required Texts
Basic Principles of Sound Reasoning
C. J. Bolton
ISBN: 978-0-7575-9695-7
Official Course Description
Fallacies, validity, and soundness of arguments. May include syllogistic, elementary symbolic,
inductive logic, and scientific method. Enrollment requirements: Pre-requisites: ENG 101, 105
or 107 with C or better
Our course makes use of a Blackboard site. I may deliver some readings, handouts, and copies
of powerpoint slides through Blackboard. I may also post a number of exercises and quizzes to
blackboard. You are responsible for accessing them regularly.
I also require that you keep a three-ring binder with all of your completed homework in it, and
bring it with you to class, which I can collect as needed.
B. Course Summary & Learning Outcomes
Course Summary
What you will learn in this course: You will learn how to think more critically. This
course exists to train you in the mental skills needed to avoid fallacies in logic, escape
entrapment by crafty and deceptive arguments, expose obfuscation, clarify confusion,
critique assumptions, perceive subtle distinctions between concepts, solve problems
more thoughtfully and creatively, and participate in public dialogue about contemporary
By the end of this course, you should be able to:
Expected Learning
Apply critical thinking skills to what you read, watch, and hear.
Evaluate the role of biases and assumptions in thought, arguments and
Incorporate knowledge of formal and informal logic in argumentation and
problem solving.
Translate sentences in English into Sentential and Propositional Logic
Use a truth table to recognize that an argument is invalid
Use a natural deduction system to proof that a sentential logic argument is valid
Identify informal Fallacies
Reason through problems using inductive logic.
C. Grades
Grade Percentage Points Range
99 - 100%
985 - 1000
94 - 98%
935 - 984
90 - 93%
895 - 934
87 - 89%
865 - 894
84 – 86%
835 - 864
80 - 83%
795 - 834
77 - 79%
765 - 794
70 – 76%
695 - 764
60 – 69%
595 - 694
Below 60% 594 and below
Exams (60% of your grade)
There will be two tests and one final exam. Each test will be worth 150 points. The final exam
will be worth 300 points. The final exam will be cumulative. Note: When taking exams, you may
be required to present an ASU ID when you turn in your exam.
Quizzes (10% of your grade)
There will be five pop quizzes, worth 20 points each. The best way to prepare for quizzes is to
attend class and do homework. Quizzes typically cover only material we have discussed within
the prior two weeks.
Homework (15% of your grade)
Homework will officially be due every day, but it will be collected in bundles at random. For
instance, I may go a month without checking homework, and then decide to check it without
warning; alternatively, I might check homework three days in a row. You are expected to keep
all of your old homework with you from the beginning of the semester and to purchase and
use a three ring binder for this purpose, which you can hand in. Since we will go over the
correct answers to many problems in class long before collecting homework, your homework
will primarily be graded on the basis of completeness and effort rather than correctness.
Brief Writing Assignments (15% of your grade)
There will be two brief writing assignments due in this class. They must each be between 2 ½
and 3 typed, double-spaced pages in a standard 10-12 point font with 1” margins. Each
assignment will be worth 75 points. Writing assignments must be submitted in digital format
through Blackboard.
First writing assignment: Your first writing assignment is due on November 13, 2013. For this
assignment, I will ask you to critique an argument you find in a newspaper article or other
publication. You must reconstruct the argument charitably, and then identify the fallacies in the
Second writing assignment: Your second writing assignment is due on the last day of class. For
this assignment, you must compose an argument for a position you wish to argue for. Your
argument must be deductively valid. The premises of your argument must be ones which you
expect your opponent to regard as plausible, and you must provide evidence to support them.
Further details will be given in class.
D. Tentative Schedule
Specific readings and homework assignments will be announced in class.
Week 1:
Introduction to Logic and to Critical thinking
Week 2:
Practical applications of critical thinking
Week 3:
Categorical Syllogisms (Chapter 1)
Week 4:
Translations into SL (Chapter 2, Part 1)
Week 5:
Translations into PL (Chapter 2, Part 2)
Week 6:
Week 7:
Truth Tables (Chapter 3)
Week 8:
Truth Tables and applications (Chapter 3)
Week 9:
Derivations in SD (Chapter 4)
Week 10:
Derivations in SD and applications (Chapter 4)
Week 11:
Week 12:
Informal fallacies (Chapter 5)
Week 13:
Informal Fallacies and applications (Chapter 5)
Week 14:
Inductive Logic (Chapter 6)
Week 15:
Inductive Logic and applications (Chapter 6)
Week 16
I reserve the right to change our schedule of readings and topics as needed. It is your
responsibility to attend class and check your e-mail and blackboard to learn about any changes
in schedule.
E. Other Course Policies
Academic integrity is a fundamental expectation for this course, and for your
attendance at the university. I expect you to be familiar with the University
Academic Integrity Policy https://provost.asu.edu/academicintegrity and the CLAS
academic integrity materials. https://clas.asu.edu/node/17780. Ignorance of these
policies is not an excuse. Academic dishonesty, including but not limited to
inappropriate collaboration, cheating, plagiarizing, deception, or any attempt to
pass off the work of another as your own, will be severely sanctioned.
Consequences of violations of academic integrity can be severe, including receiving
a grade of XE for the course, disciplinary referral to the Dean, and possible
Collaboration is not permitted on any writing assignments for PHI 103.
Collaboration on homework in PHI 103 is not permitted, except in the situations I
announce in class, subject to the guidelines that I provide in class.
Regular attendance. Material in this course can be challenging – these are difficult
texts. I expect you to attend every class unless you have one of the excused
absences below. That said, even if you do not have an excused absence, please email me as soon as possible after your absence, so that I can help you get caught
up. I understand that sometimes things just come up.
Excused absences. I recognize excused absences for:
 Minor illness, if you contact me prior to the start of class stating that you
will be absent due to illness, and your absenses for minor illness do not
exceed 3 during the semester.
 Major medical, personal, or family emergencies which make it infeasible to
contact me prior to class, provided that you are able to provide
documentation of the cause of the absence.
 Religious observances/practices that are in accord with ACD 304–04.
 University sanctioned events/activities that are in accord with ACD 304–02.
Late Homework. I accept late homework if it is turned in by the next class after the
class in which I collect the homework, but impose a penalty of 10% of your grade.
However, if you have an excused absence, then I will waive the penalty.
Missed Quizzes. I do not allow make-ups of missed quizzes. If you have an excused
absense, then I will waive the quiz and weigh your other grades more heavily.
Missed Exams. I will allow make-ups of missed exams only in cases of documented
medical, personal, or family emergencies, or by special arrangement prior to the
exam. Please contact me as soon as possible.
Many students struggle with courses when they get behind after missing a mere
two or three classes in a row. If you miss two or more classes in a row, make an
appointment to meet in my office hours, so you can get caught up.
Laptops and other Electronic Devices. Philosophy classes emphasize live discussion
and working through difficult problems together. If you are looking at a screen, you
are more likely to be tuned out of our discussion. I permit laptops and other
electronic devices, but ask that you use them only for the purpose of reading course
texts and taking notes, not for the purpose of multitasking by checking e-mail or
Facebook or playing games. (Close the laptop and let it get some sleep if you aren’t
using it at the moment). Further, glowing screens are distracting to other students.
To prevent any distraction to others in the class, I ask that if you bring a laptop or
other electronic device, you please sit in the back two rows of the classroom.
Classroom Etiquitte
Cell Phones. Please do not use cell phones in class. Turn your cell phone volume off
and keep it out of sight. If your cell phone makes noise during class, I may have to
ask you to leave for the remainder of the class day. I may ask you to put a cell
phone away if you are using it in a distracting way. If there is a situation which
genuinely requires you to be updated by text message (e.g., you have young
children in day care, or a family member or close friend who needs you on call for
medical-related reasons), it is okay to check texts, if you can do so very discreetly.
Exiting and Entering. Please show up on time, and please do not leave early or get
up in the middle of class, if at all possible. However, if you must leave early, arrive
late, or get up in the middle of class, please enter and exit the classroom in such a
way as to minimize disruption.
Food. Please do not eat in class, unless you have a medical reason for doing so.
Controversial topics may be discussed in this class. University education aims to
expand student understanding and awareness. Thus, it necessarily involves
engagement with a wide range of information, ideas, and creative representations.
In the course of college studies, students can expect to encounter—and critically
appraise—materials that may differ from and perhaps challenge familiar
understandings, ideas, and beliefs. Students are encouraged to discuss these
matters with faculty.
Controversial Topics
Civility. I expect all discussion to be civil and respectful towards other members of
the class. Failure to treat others with respect will harm your participation grade,
and I may ask you to leave the class. Please also respect my role as moderator of
the discussion.
Discomfort. If you feel it is necessary to leave the class because you feel
uncomfortable with the discussion, you may do so without any penalty against you.
I do hope you will feel comfortable e-mailing me to let me know about the
All of the course content, including lectures, are copyrighted material. Students may
not sell notes taken during the conduct of the course. Students may not make any
video recording of the course for any purpose.
Students may receive permission to make an audio recording of the class for use in
personal study by contacting the instructor before class.
If you have a documented disability, you can arrange for accommodations by
contacting the Disability Resource Center (DRC). When requesting accommodation
for a disability, you must be registered with the DRC and submit appropriate DRC
All incidents and allegations of violent or threatening conduct by an ASU student
(whether on- or off-campus) must be reported to the ASU Police Department (ASU
PD) and the Office of the Dean of Students. If either office determines that the
behavior poses or has posed a serious threat to personal safety or to the welfare of
the campus, the student will not be permitted to return to campus or reside in any
ASU residence hall until an appropriate threat assessment has been completed and,
if necessary, conditions for return are imposed. ASU PD, the Office of the Dean of
Students, and other appropriate offices will coordinate the assessment in light of
the relevant circumstances.
All of the information in the syllabus, other than grade and absence policies, may be subject to
change with one class day’s advance notice.