Course Descriptions - Spring 2006

Introductory Courses in Philosophy

PHILOS 101, Introduction to Philosophy - Selected Topics & Issues, 3 credits, HU
Lec 011, MWR 6:00 - 9:35pm, CRT 124, May 30-June 24, 2006
Instructor: RJ Leland,

We will look at a representative selection of topics from the history of philosophy and current philosophical debates: ethics, social and political philosophy, the scope and nature of our knowledge of the world, the nature of the self and mind.

PHILOS 111, Informal Logic: Critical Reasoning, 3 credits, HU
Lec 011, MWR 9:00-11:13am, SAB G25, May 30 - July 8, 2006
Instructor: Karl Steldt,

Aside from being a body of knowledge in its own right, logic is an instrument for acquiring understanding. As such it is not specific to any subject matter. The principles of logic are applicable to the various sciences, art, religion, law, ethics, politics, and business. For the student who works in any of the foregoing areas, the study of logic is essential.

This course is devoted to a range of topics central to logic. People make claims and defend them with reasons, which together are referred to as arguments. The first order of business is to learn to identify arguments and to recognize how their structure is indicated in ordinary discourse. Second, meaning and linguistic usage underlie the determination of truth. In this connection distinctions are drawn between different kinds of definition, and rules are laid down for constructing and evaluating definitions. A third topic is that of informal fallacies. Some arguments are good and some are bad, and fallacies are by definition bad arguments. Since these are all too often mistaken for good arguments, being able to recognize common varieties of fallacies is a useful skill. Next on the agenda is deduction. The relation between truth and validity is considered. Some immediate inferences that have traditionally been recognized are covered, along with a number of elementary forms of deductive arguments. A procedure is established for testing a certain kind of deductive argument, the categorical syllogism, for validity and invalidity. The last part of the course is devoted to a study of inductive arguments. Here the focus is on arguments by analogy, causal reasoning, and scientific explanation.

PHILOS 211, Elementary Logic, 3 credits, HU
Lec 011, TR 6:00 - 9:35pm, BUS S151, May 30 - July 8, 2006 Instructor: Michael Liston,

PHILOS 211, Elementary Logic, 3 credits, HU
Lec 053, MWR 11:00 - 1:05, CRT 124, June 26 - August 5, 2006
Instructor: Stephanie Allen,

The Island of Knights and Knaves is a place where only Knights and Knaves live. A Knight is a person who always tells the truth. Knaves, on the other hand, never tell the truth. Harry, who lives on the island, says: "If I am a Knight, then I'll eat my hat." Did you know that you can prove from the above information that Harry will eat his hat? Did you know: 1) Given that Sarah loves either Jim or Tom and that if she loves Jim then she loves Tom, you can prove that she loves Tom? 2) that if everyone loves a lover and there is even one lover in the world, then everyone loves everyone? Learn how to solve these and other puzzles in Philosophy 211, where we will study formal deductive logic―the science of what follows from what.

The concepts and techniques encountered in the study of deductive logic are of central importance to any analysis of argument and inference. They reflect fundamental patterns of proof found in science and mathematics, they underlie the programs that enable computers to "reason" logically, and they provide tools for characterizing the formal structures of language. This is an introductory course intended for students who have had no previous work in logic. There will be 3 exams and weekly homework assignments.