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Rich Building 211
Logic is the study of both the content and the form of reasoning. In the process of reasoning, evidence is collected in premises that, when combined, support conclusions (the acceptance of which may be urged or compelled if the premises are accepted). The set of premises together with their conclusion make up an argument. In studying the content of arguments, logicians try to determine the types of evidence to which appeal may legitimately be made. While some types of content meet the standard of reason, other types do not; rather, they are misleading and superfluous to the truth of the conclusions they allegedly support. For this reason, arguments that appeal to these types of evidence are considered fallacious (deceitful). Although they are fallacies, such arguments are both commonplace and persuasive. Learning the fallacies and how to identify them is an indispensable component of critical thinking.
In studying the form of arguments, logicians determine whether the relations between the premises and conclusion of arguments are such that the truth of the conclusion is guaranteed if the premises are true. Many systems have been developed to analyze this formal aspect of arguments. In this course, we will focus on categorical (a.k.a. syllogistic) logic, first formalized by Aristotle, and propositional logic, which has developed (and become dominant) in late modern and contemporary philosophy. As time permits, we will study the basics of predicate logic, which combines the two foregoing systems. Because it is not only the types of contents that can render arguments deceptively persuasive, but also invalid combinations of premises, formal logic is equally indispensable for critical analysis of arguments. With both the informal and formal tools of logic at our disposal, we can be confident in debunking sophistry wherever it may present itself.
Required Textbooks, Articles, and Resources
- Nonsense: Red Herrings, Straw Men, and Sacred Cows. ISBN: 9780975366264.
- Schaum's Outline of Logic. ISBN: 9780070466494.
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|Grades for this course will be determined by (i) attendance and participation, (ii) completion of homework, (iii) quizzes, (iv) a midterm exam, and a final exam.|
The schedule of courses on O.P.U.S. is the official listing of courses, including days and times they meet and the General Education Requirements they satisfy. Students should use course descriptions as general guidelines. Course requirements, grading details, book lists, and syllabi are subject to change.