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                                          Syllabus: Philosophy 202—Critical Thinking

Section 1
Time: M/W/F 8:00 a.m.—9:05 a.m.
Location: Bldg. 5 /Rm. 124

Section 11
Time: M/W/F 10:30 a.m.—11:35 a.m.
Location: Bldg. 9/Rm. 279
Instructor: Scott Dixon
Office: 1-319
Phone/Email: 909-869-4592/4766(Department Office)/
Office Hours: Mon. 12:45 p.m.—1:50 p.m., Wed. 12:45 p.m.–1:50 p.m., Fri. 7:30 a.m.--8:00 a.m.,
    9:30 a.m.--10:00 a.m. & by appt.
Course Website:

Required Text:

Critical Thinking: An Introduction to Analytical Reading and Reasoning by Larry Wright

Course Description:

This course is designed to help develop reasoning skills. We will begin by spending some time sharpening
critical reading skills. We will then work on developing a vocabulary that will help us articulate and
evaluate practical arguments. By the end of the course you should be able to do the following: paraphrase
expository prose passages in two ways; find and schematize arguments; determine the merit of arguments;
recognize and evaluate diagnostic arguments such as causal and analogical arguments; understand the
significance of deduction; and construct an argumentative essay.

Course Requirements:

1. Exams: There will be five in-class exams: one exam for each chapter (1/2, 3,4,5) and a final exam.
The final exam is cumulative. Each chapter exam is worth 50 pts. and the final is worth 100 pts. for a
total of 300 pts.  (300 points)

2. In-Class Exercises: Almost every day you will have in-class work to do. These assignments
         function in two ways.

        One as means to provide a participation grade(notebook grade):

        23 exercises or more: 25 pts.
        18-22 exercises: 15 pts.
        11-17 exercises: 5pts.
        Less than 10 exercises: 0 pts.

       Two, as measure of competency and effort, I will grade 10 of these randomly. Each one
         is worth 4 points for a total of 40 possible points.

       Thus, there are potentially 65 points that can be earned through attending class and
        doing the exercises correctly. (65 points)

3. Writing Assignment: I will assign one writing assignment. See attachment. (50 points)

Total Points Possible: 415

Grade Scale: (tentative)

A: 90-100%                 D: 59-69%
B: 80-89%                   F: below 59%
C: 70-79%

Course Outline:

The outline is tentative. We may cover some material faster than I have planned and other material
slower. We may make changes as we go depending upon the competency level of the class.  All
page numbers refer to the Wright textbook.

Week 1—Introduction/Aims and Structure of the Course/Preface, pp. ix-x/Ch.1
Weeks 2 and 3—Ch. 1, pp. 3-29
Weeks 3 and 4---Ch. 2, pp. 33-69
Week 5---Ch. 3, pp. 94-127
Weeks 6 and 7—Ch.4, pp. 139-191
Weeks 8 and 9—Ch.5, pp.198-222
Week 10—Appendix: Deduction

Important Dates:

Exams and Assignments:
 1.    Exams will be announced one week before you will be taking them.
 2.    Final exam: Fri., June 14th, 9:10-11:10 a.m.
 3.    Make sure you pay attention to the dates for your writing assignment.
 4.   The Writing Assignment is due in my office by 12 p.m. on June 14th . If you prefer to turn it in early,
        you can turn it into to me at the time of your final, or leave it with the Philosophy Dept. Secretary,
        Sue Baird—make sure you get her to date and time stamp it.

        No work will be accepted after 12:00 p.m. on the 14th--NO EXCEPTIONS!

No School: Memorial Day, 5/27

Some Advice:

This course looks easier than it really is and it requires your constant effort. I recommend reading each
week’s material at least once before class and at least once after class. Use the class handouts to
understand the book. At times, this course can be elusive. You can miss the point and not realize it until
it is too late, so do not wait to come and talk with me. Make use of my office hours. Please do not hesitate
to ask questions or stop me when you do not quite understand something. It is trite, but true, to mention
that if you have a question, undoubtedly others do, so please ask it in class; the ensuing discussion will
benefit us all. There are no stupid or obvious questions. Indeed, the hardest questions are the most obvious.

Course and Classroom Conduct:

Critical thinking courses often contain discussions of issues where strong opinions are held.  I expect all
students to be respectful of each other and of the instructor. To this end, any disrespectful or inflammatory
behavior will be dealt with immediately.  Repeated behavior of this type will result in the student being
excused from the class and subsequently dropped from the course.

All students should familiarize themselves with the University policies on cheating and plagiarism found in
the University’s Schedule of Classes and Course Catalog. The instructor will not be held responsible for
misunderstandings resulting from the student’s lack of knowledge. Thus, it is imperative that each of you
is aware of 1) what constitutes cheating; 2) what constitutes plagiarism; 3) the avenues of university
response; and 4) your student rights.

Remember, if you are in doubt about citing a source, then you should cite it. Points are not taken off for
citing a source, but not citing a source can cause you to lose not only the grade for that assignment, but
for the course as well. When in doubt, cite! All papers submitted will be typed in a number 11 or 12
font—preferably Times New Roman or Arial, double-spaced, and with 1 inch margins.

No late work will be accepted without prior approval of the instructor—and in general will not be granted.
I will not provide class notes to those that do not attend class in paper or electronic form. I will not e-mail
or retain hard copies of in-class assignments to those that choose not to attend: you’re either here and do
them, or you don’t get credit for them. As well, extra-credit work will not be given to make-up for missed
assignments. Finally, I expect you to come to class on time, ready to discuss the material, and stay for the
full duration of time.

Philosophy 202 Writing Assignment Guidelines

Length: Three to four pages (750-1000 words), typed, double-spaced, 1 inch margins, Times New Roman,
    Arial or some standard font.
Topic:  You can write on any topic you would like so long as the paper you write on the topic takes the form
    of a recommendation.
Format: The paper is an argumentative essay. Specifically, it is an argumentative essay for or against some
    recommendation. An example of a thesis for a recommendation argument is the following: Saturday Night
    Specials should be banned. Typically, an argumentative essay includes the following:
    1. thesis and definition (your recommendation)
    2. arguments for the thesis
    3. objections to the thesis
    4. replies to the objections
This is not a research paper per se; however, it may be necessary to address the literature on the topic in
order to see what possible objections to your claim exist.

Due Dates:
Statement of Thesis: A brief (10-25 words) statement of your thesis, followed by defining the key terms in
the thesis, is due by 5/10. The thesis statement is worth 4 points. No points will be given if the assignment is
not turned in by the due date.
Brainstorming Paper: A two page (total) paper consisting of: 1) a one page paper containing all of the reasons
you can think of for your thesis (Argument Summary), and 2) a one page paper consisting of two to three serious
objections to your thesis and your response to each of those objections (Replies and Objections). This is due
by 5/24 and this paper is worth 10 points.
Final Draft: The final draft of the paper is due on the day of final exam 6/12. The final draft is worth 16 points.
After 2pm on the 12th, no papers will be accepted, regardless of circumstances.

Possible Paper Topics—one can argue for or against any of these.
Gun Control                                         School Vouchers
Abortion                                               Nuclear Power
Free Speech                                        Affirmative Action
Immigration—legal or illegal                Same Sex Marriage

PHL202— Class Procedures, Additional Course Policies, and General Information

The general format of the class period will proceed like the following:

     Lecture: 10-35 minutes
     In-Class Work: 15-30 minutes

During my lecture I will go over and add to the handout that you should have downloaded from the
web page. It is imperative that you have the notes before class starts. Since I lecture for a relatively
short period of time, you need to be to class on time; otherwise, you’ll miss things you need to know
for your in-class assignments, exams, and papers. You need to pay attention and be focused during
the lecture because you’ll miss the subtleties if you don’t.

Completing and understanding the in-class assignments are necessary to gain the competency required
for this course. The concepts in this course are cumulative; thus, it is imperative that you understand each
'stage' before we move on. Failing to take the assignments seriously will hinder your progression and
ultimately will result in your lack of competency. This is not a course that you can spend a weekend on
before an exam and expect to do well in. Competencies are developed over time and the in-class
assignments aid in this development.

One criterion for the satisfactory completion of the mandatory assignments includes meeting all of the
ethical requirements of academic scholarship. It is your responsibility as a student that you complete all
assignments with respect to the rules regarding academic misconduct. By failing to take this responsibility
seriously, you will not only be penalized and failed for neglecting to complete the assignment in an
acceptable manner, but you will also subject to any appropriate penalty for academic misconduct.
© J.A. Johnson

I don’t expect you to have original thoughts on the subjects of this course. But, what I do expect is that
you are honest and document your sources whether they come from my course notes, the textbook, the
class readings, the Internet, or any other secondary source. Cite the material and give the author his/her
correct due. Taking someone’s work as your own is plagiarism and as the paragraph above states, not
only will I fail you for that assignment (and possibly the course), I will also turn it over to Academic Affairs.
The same goes for cheating in class during exams. If you choose to try it, make sure it is worth possibly
ending your academic career at Cal Poly.

Finally, you need to have internet access for this course. The notes need to be downloaded before class.
Download them while they are available, as the chapters change, so do the notes.

Make use of my office hours if you have questions. I’ll also make appointments if my hours don’t work for
you. If you are a new Freshman, a returning student, or someone who has avoided philosophy, I would
especially like to speak with you about any concerns you might have about the course or the subject. While
the material in the course can be daunting, it can be understood with effort and time. Feel free to e-mail me
24/7 if you have questions about anything.