Logic and Critical Reasoning
- Student Information Sheet
Satisfies General Ed AA/AS Areas C, D2;
CSU General Ed Area A3
Transferable CSU and UC
Dr. Robert T. Carroll
The goal of the course is to improve your capability as a
logical and critical thinker. You will learn what logic and critical thinking are, and how
to apply critical thinking skills to your college studies and to your everyday life.
Special emphasis is placed upon recognizing and overcoming hindrances to critical thinking
and upon recognizing misleading, fallacious or irrational appeals that attempt to
manipulate our beliefs and actions.
Becoming a Critical Thinker - A Guide for the New Millennium, second edition (Pearson 2005) by Robert T.
Carroll is the required text. The Student Success Guide by Robert T. Carroll is recommended,
but not required, for those who want to improve their
writing skills. For
supplemental reading, The Skeptics Dictionary by Robert Todd Carroll is also
available from most bookstores.
Corrections of errors in the text may be found at:
1. Critical Thinking
2. Language and Critical Thinking
4. Identifying Arguments
6. Evaluating Extended Arguments
7. Sampling and analogical reasoning
8. Causal Reasoning
9. Science and Pseudoscience
Course requirements and grading
There will be eight exams [one on each chapter except ch. 6,
"Evaluating Extended Arguments"] worth 50 points each. All exams will be
true/false, multiple choice exams, for which you will need a Scantron 882 answer sheet and
a #2 pencil with eraser (available at the College Store). The chapter 9 exam on
pseudoscience will be given during the final exam period. Make up exams will be given only
for good reasons such as illness or deaths in the family; they will be given during the
final exam period after the chapter 9 exam. The following do not constitute good
reasons for missing an exam: I haven't had time to study; I'm not prepared; I've
scheduled this vacation months ago; my car was broken into last night. It may be
possible to take an exam early, or with another section. Discuss any scheduling problems
with me prior to the exam.
There will be frequent homework assignments, each worth 5 or 10
points. Although 150 points worth of homework will be assigned, a maximum of 100 homework
points may be applied to the course grade. Homework must be turned in when due; no late
homework will be accepted. Please label all homework (e.g., exercise 3-1).
The course grade is based on exam scores and homework, with exam
scores counting about 80% of the grade. A: 450-500; B: 400-449; C: 350-399; D: 300-349;
F: 0-299. Borderline grades will be decided by attendance and participation in the
course. A borderline grade is defined as being within one percent of the next higher
The final exam will be a test on chapter nine. After the final exam, make-up exams will
Attendance at all classes is expected. You are considered
absent if you are late for class or if you leave class early. Repeated tardiness will not
be tolerated. If you cannot be on time, do not come to class. Attendance does not just
mean physical presence. Attendance means you are present and attending to the business at
hand, viz., listening, writing or discussing logic. Obviously, you are not in attendance
if you are absent from class. But you are also not in attendance if you are present but
sleeping, daydreaming, studying for some other class, reading a newspaper, a novel, a
psychology text, etc. You are also not in attendance if you engage in private discussions
while class is going on.
You may be absent twice
the number of weekly scheduled classes without being dropped from the course. If you miss
more than this number of classes, you may be dropped from the course.
note: Should you decide to drop any class,
remember that it is your responsibility to officially drop the class.
& Critical Reasoning Assignments - Fall 2006
Primary Assignments for each chapter: Each of the primary assignments is due on the
day of the exam for that chapter.
Chapter 1. Exercises 1-5 (pages 23-24) , no. 1 (10 points) or no. 4 (10 points).
Chapter 2. Find three examples of different weasel words in print ads (4 pts for three
ads). Find three examples of doublespeak jargon in print ads (3 pts for three ads).
Find 3 examples of doublespeak euphemisms used by a public figure within the last two
months (6 pts for three examples). Find two examples of false implications on product
labels or in print ads (2 pts for two labels or ads). Turn in a copy of the
doublespeak; clearly identify where the doublespeak is by circling or underlining it.
Clearly label what type of doublespeak it is.
Chapter 3. Compare the treatment of the same news story by two newspapers or two news
magazines. Examine the articles for similarities and differences in sources, language,
slant or bias, positioning (where the article is located), headlines, etc. I will provide
the news stories. [10 points]
Chapter 4. Exercise 4-8 (pp 92-97); Do all the non-asterisked ones. 5 points for the
diagrams and 5 points for the multiple-choice answers.
Chapter 5. Find one example in newspaper or magazine advertisements of each of the
following fallacies: ad populum, irrelevant comparison, irrelevant appeal to fear,
irrelevant appeal to vanity, irrelevant appeal to authority. [2 points each, max 10
points] Turn in a copy of the ad. Clearly identify where the fallacy occurs by circling or
underlining it. Clearly label what type of fallacy it is.
Chapter 7. Evaluation of a newspaper or news magazine article
that reports on a statewide or national poll. Up to 10 points. I will provide you with a
copy of the article to evaluate.
Chapter 8. Evaluation of a newspaper or news magazine article about a scientific causal
study. Up to 10 points I will supply you with a copy of the article to evaluate.
Chapter 9. Exercise 9-2 (p 215) (10 points) and exercise 9-4 (p 216) (15 points)
Secondary Assignments will be announced in class.