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PHILOSOPHY 171: CRITICAL THINKING

SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY, SPRING 2013 Lecture: Monday, Wednesday 12:45-1:40, Hall of Languages 102 Prof. Jessica Gelber (jgelber@syr.edu) Office Hours: Monday 2-3 (or by apt.) in HL 523 Discussion Section: Friday 9:30-10:25 119 Bowne Hall OR 10:35-11:40 105 Bowne Hall Graduate Student Teaching Assistant: Dante Dauksz (ddauksz@syr.edu) Office Hours TBA

Course Description
The decisions we make influence our own and others lives in deep and significant ways. We can learn to make better decisions by learning to be better at reasoning. This is what this course is intended to teach. In particular, students will learn to reason better by becoming familiar with the fundamentals of arguments and those aspects of language that can lead to muddled thinking and communication. We will use examples from contemporary news media, literature, TV, film, and our own lives to improve our abilities to recognize the difference between better and worse arguments, to detect faulty reasoning, and to express our views clearly.

Required Text
The Power of Critical Thinking: Effective Reasoning about Ordinary and Extraordinary Things by Lewis Vaughn. Oxford University Press. 4th Edition.

Assignments and Grades


Writing Portfolio Project (9 assignments total): 600 points Debates OR HOMEWORK: 100 points Unannounced Quizzes: 300 points **Completion of all assigned coursework is required for a passing grade in the course.** Attendance and participation is required and considered coursework.

Other Policies
No-Laptop Policy ** Please note that laptop computers and other electronic devices that are potentially distracting to other students (e.g., cell phones) may not be used in class. If you have a disability that prevents you from taking notes any other way, you may request an exception to this policy. You may use a sound recording device if you wish. **

Academic Integrity Plagiarism is a serious offense, and I will not tolerate it. The penalty for plagiarism or cheating is an F for the course. Any time you represent someone elses views as your own, you are plagiarizing. That means that if you read something on the Internet and put it in your own words, but do not cite the source, you are plagiarizing. If your friend comes up with an example and you use it without giving them credit, you are plagiarizing. It is OK to get ideas from other people or look at secondary literature, but you absolutely must cite your sources. More information about the Universitys plagiarism policies can be read on line at: http://academicintegrity.syr.edu/student-resources/ The Syracuse University Academic Integrity Policy holds students accountable for the integrity of the work they submit. Students should be familiar with the Policy and know that it is their responsibility to learn about instructor and general academic expectations with regard to proper citation of sources in written work. The policy also governs the integrity of work submitted in exams and assignments as well as the veracity of signatures on attendance sheets and other verifications of participation in class activities. Serious sanctions can result from academic dishonesty of any sort. For more information and the complete policy, see the Academic Integrity Policy. Disability Accommodations Students who are in need of disability-related academic accommodations must register with the Office of Disability Services (ODS), 804 University Avenue, Room 309, 315-443-4498. Students with authorized disability-related accommodations should provide a current Accommodation Authorization Letter from ODS to the instructor and review those accommodations with the instructor. Accommodations, such as exam administration, are not provided retroactively; therefore, planning for accommodations as early as possible is necessary. Faith Tradition Observances SU Policy: Students must notify instructors no later than the end of the second week of classes if they anticipate missing class due to a religious observance. Notification is made by registering on MySlice. In the event that you will be missing class for the purposes of religious observance (and have registered this online), I will accept paragraphs/written assignments within 2 days of the missed date. I strongly recommend that you arrange for another student to fill you in on what you missed. It will be your responsibility to find out what that is. Email I will send announcements via the blackboard messaging system. If the email on record (your syr.edu account) is not one that you ordinarily check, make sure you have those messages forwarded to one that you do check. You are expected to check your email at least once/day. Please use jgelber@syr.edu to communicate by email with me. I will generally respond to short emails quickly, but prefer to discuss more substantive issues in person. If you cannot make it to my office hours, I will be glad to make an appointment with you.

TENTATIVE SCHEDULE (Subject to revision.)


DATE Jan 14 Jan 16 Jan 18 Jan 23 Jan 25 Jan 28 Jan 30 Feb 1 Feb 4 Feb 6 Feb 8 Feb 11 Feb 13 Feb 15 Feb 18 Feb 20 Feb 22 Feb 25 Feb 27 Mar 1 Mar 4 Mar 6 Mar 8 Mar 18 Mar 20 Mar 22 Mar 25 Mar 27 Mar 29 Apr 1 Apr 3 Apr 5 Apr 8 Apr 10 Apr 12 Apr15 Apr 17 Apr 19 Apr 22 Apr 24 Apr 26 Apr 29 May 2 ASST DUE READING Ch. 1: all Ch. 3: 62-84 WP1 Ch. 3: 84-91 Ch. 3: 92-109 Ch. 8: 276-289 Ch. 8: 294-309 WP2 Ch. 8: 310-319 Ch. 5: 168-181 WP3 3 copies Ch. 5: 181-186 Ch. 5: 186-198 WP4 2 copies Ch. 2: 33-46 Ch. 2: 46-51 Ch. 4: 117-124 Ch. 4: 124-147 WP5. Ch. 4: 147-159 Ch. 9: 333-342 WP6 Ch. 9: 346-356 Ch. 9: 357-377 Ch. 10: 382-393 Ch. 10: 393-414 WP7 Ch. 10: 414-429 Ch. 11: 441-454 WP8 2 copies Ch. 11: 454-460 Ch. 11: 460-464 Debates - TBD Debates - TBD Debates - TBD Debates - TBD WP9 & Portfolio