Dr. Christine A. James


Philosophy 2020 Section A

TR 8:00am-9:15am in West Hall 104   CRN 81054


Office: 1203 Ashley Hall

Office Hours: MTWR 3:30pm-4:45pm and after classes and by appointment as needed/requested.

Telephone:  259-7609 

Mailbox:  Philosophy and Religious Studies Department Office, Ashley Hall North Side First Floor

Fax:  259-5011

E-mail address:


Please note that specific dates for readings and graded assignments in the syllabus may be adjusted and updated throughout the semester.  The latest version of the syllabus will always be available at


Course Content: What does it take to express an idea well?  What does it mean to convince someone?  Logic provides a method to systematically analyze expressions and arguments. This course provides an introduction to logic, using examples from a variety of perspectives: law, science, and everyday experience.  We will cover sentential logic (involving sentences using "not", "and", "or", and "if..., then..."), we will use truth-table and natural deduction techniques, and we will cover elementary quantifier logic (involving sentences using "all" and "some").  These techniques will help you to recognize arguments, evaluate arguments for validity, think critically, and use arguments well in your own writing.  We will also apply these skills to real-world situations, including legal case studies.




In accordance with the revised learning outcomes for the Core Curriculum of the Georgia State System, and the VSU Core Curriculum, our course follows the Area C Learning Outcome:

"Students will analyze, evaluate, and interpret diverse forms of human communication."


The Learning Outcomes for PHIL 2020 are:


1.  Use more advanced logical and critical reasoning techniques through the examination of various methods of logic from formal and informal traditions.

2.  Discuss such topics as: the nature of critical thinking, classification, meaning, and definition; ambiguity and vagueness;

categorical logic; explanation and argument; techniques of persuasion; propositional logic; deduction and induction; and pseudo-reasoning (fallacies).

3.  Apply these critical reasoning principles to a variety of problems and contexts, including writing and analysis in other courses.

4.  Use the truth table method to determine the truth-value of compound sentences and to distinguish among tautologies, contingent sentences and contradictions.

5.  Distinguish between valid and invalid argument forms, using the truth table method and the proof method.

6.  Translate ordinary-language statements and arguments into the language of sentential logic and/or predicate logic, and vice versa.

7   Demonstrate that a given argument in symbolic form is valid or invalid.


These course-specific learning outcomes contribute to the departmental learning outcomes of the Philosophy and Religious Studies Major by enabling students better to

1. To encourage an understanding of central issues, topics and philosophers in the history of philosophy, from the ancient to the modern periods.

2. To develop students’ abilities to think, write, and speak critically and logically.

3. To enable students to challenge their own ideas and to develop self-understanding in the context of a diverse range of ideas which inform contemporary controversies and social conflict.

4. To enable students to engage in independent philosophical research, and to be responsible for communicating their understanding of the issues researched and developed, including a working familiarity with current research methods. 

5. To incorporate philosophical positions in oral and written communications.

6. To critically outline and analyze a philosophical question.

Members of the faculty in Philosophy and Religious Studies have verified that these outcomes are in line with the outcomes of the course as it is taught at peer institutions in the State System of Georgia.



Requirements:  Three unit tests, daily homework graded in class, short presentation on fallacies, class participation, a comprehensive final exam.  All assignments must be completed on schedule, and continual practice using the problems in each chapter is necessary for success in the course.  You must be willing to work independently, and you must motivate yourself to learn the new vocabulary, to learn the rules of inference, and to practice new problems.  Our time together in class will involve lecturing on new material, answering questions about relevant material, going over sample problems, and working in groups.  I encourage discussion and participation in class.


Required Texts: Hurley's A Concise Introduction to Logic, 10 th, or 11th edition (feel free to comparison shop).  You may also purchase the study guide if you choose.  Feel free to work with friends in other sections; feel free to use the computer labs on campus using the disk or online access code included with the Hurley text.  Some editions come with a CD that contains the homework program, and it should work on any IBM or Macintosh computer.(Please note that you might choose not to use the CD or online access that comes with the text.  It is not required, and opening the CD-ROM envelope in the back of the book will decrease/nullify the book’s resale value.)


(In addition, for citation Philosophy and Religious Studies faculty encourage you to use Andrea A. Lunsford, St. Martin’s Handbook, VSU edition, which is required in ENGL 1101 and 1102 courses. These books are available for purchase at the VSU Bookstore. The St. Martin’s Handbook is usually given its own display in the bookstore and shelved under ENGL 1101 and 1102.)



How grades will be calculated:

A          = 100 - 90%

B          = 89 - 80%

C          = 79 - 70%        Please note that I am not obligated to accept any late work,

D          = 69 - 60%        and I do not have to give late examinations after the date listed on the

F          = 59 - 0%          syllabus. You must complete work on time.


                        Participation, asking good questions in class = 15%

            First week of Blazeview items: First Discussion, First Dropbox, First Practice Quiz = 5%

2 Problems-based in-class quizzes at 10% each, may be unannounced = 20%

             2 Unit Tests at 10% each = 20%

                        1 Fallacy Presentation done in Groups = 10%

            Peer Evaluations of Other Students’ Fallacy Presentations = 10%

                        1 Final Exam at 20% = 20%

                        Total = 100%


((The Honors version of the PHIL 2020 class involves a variety of challenging activities including quantitatively and qualitatively enriched examinations and final examination writing assignments. This will prepare you to write a research paper on logic due at the end of the course.  This is what makes it an Honors course.  Please arrange for Honors Option by contacting both Dr. James and the Honors College.))


Attendance Policy: I do care that you attend class regularly.  As you know, VSU policy states that missing 20% of class meetings results in an automatic grade of “F”.  Faculty can also institute added attendance policies in their syllabi. Our class will have a 10% rule for absences.  You can miss up to 10% of the class meetings with no grade penalty.  10% of our 30 class meetings is 3.  On absence number 4, your final grade for the course will be reduced by one whole letter grade; on absence number 5, your final grade for the course will be reduced by two whole letter grades; on absence number 6, you will automatically fail the course.  Be considerate of your fellow students – don’t be late, and don’t leave your cell phones and pagers on. No texting. Please note that this policy makes no distinction between excused and unexcused absences.


Access Statement:

Valdosta State University is committed to providing inclusive learning environments for all students. However, students with disabilities may not always experience equal access to all learning objectives or assessments.  If students anticipate or experience any learning barriers, they should notify the instructor as well as contact the Access Office to determine appropriate ways to eliminate barriers. The Access Office is located in Farber Hall and can be reached by calling 229-245-2498 (voice), 229-375-5871 (videophone), 229-219-1348 (tty) or 229-245-3788 (fax). You can also visit the website at or email at for more information. 


Academic Honesty:

Members of the Valdosta State University faculty value honesty and integrity extremely highly and do not tolerate cheating of any kind. Anyone caught cheating will automatically fail the course. Cheating includes – but is not limited to – plagiarism, giving or receiving assistance on a quiz, having someone else do work on your behalf, doing work on someone else’s behalf, and working with a partner or in a group on an individual assignment. By enrolling in this course, you are in effect promising to maintain the bond of trust on which the professor-student relationship is based.  In addition, VSU has a new Academic Honesty Policy.  Here is a link to the Academic Honesty Policies and Procedures:  



VSU policy mandates that all official communication by e-mail take place through VSU e-mail accounts or through the Blazeview Mail tool.  Please check your VSU ( e-mail account regularly.



You must come to class with the reading assignments already done, and you should have requests for homework problems to go over in class.  Notice that homework assignments are associated with each section of the text, you should begin trying the homework problems as you read.  These are the homework problems that will prepare you for the quizzes and examinations.


Note: This syllabus is not a legal contract; the content of this course is subject to revision by the professor.



Schedule of the course:




Month/Day                    Topics                          Homework


Tuesday, August 13:    Introduction to class.      Begin homework, using the online information here:                           




             Remember to start going to Blazeview and looking for Discussions, Dropbox, and Quizzes! Our course includes regular work in Blazeview.

                    Old Blazeview:


            New Blazeview:



8/15 R               Hurley, Chapter 1

Statements/Arguments                                      1.1-1.2             


8/20 T               More Statements and Arguments                       1.2-1.3               



8/22 R              Deduction and Induction                                                1.3 - 1.4                       



8/27 T               Evaluating Arguments, Language of Symbolic Logic 1.4  

                        Review for the first Chapter’s Quiz          



8/29 R               QUIZ ON CHAPTER 1 on paper in class 

(After the Quiz, begin reading in the next sections, come in next class having already read the material.)



9/3 T                 Begin Hurley Chapter 3 on Fallacies

                         Fallacies information:


                         Here’s another link about fallacies which you will find very helpful:


9/5 R                Informal Fallacies  



9/10 T               More Informal Fallacies  



9/12 R               Group Presentation Days

                        Begin Fallacy Presentations

                              Group members:

                               1. Brittney Bartholomew, Jordan A. Connor, Alexis A. Osouna 

                               2. Samantha F. Parker, Jonathan R. Sandmann, Bakari E. Bethea  

                               3. Rico J. McKee, Anthony J. Combs, Shaun M. Vanderlinde, Taylor Marshall

                               4. Dereck Humphrey


Remember that by 9/19 at 11:59pm, every member of every group must upload their Powerpoint into the Dropbox area of Blazeview. (10% of Final Grade)

Remember that everyone must be present in class to fill out evaluations of other group presentations. (10% of Final Grade) 

If your group would like to do an especially good job researching fallacies, consider using these links:    (Click on Academic Search Complete to open the first page with the search box.) If you are accessing the library website from an off-campus computer, please use the Anywhere Access to log in to our library’s resources:



9/17 T               Fallacy Presentations

                             Group members:

                              1. Nicholas S. Buford, Nataleah V. Michael, Edward A. McGraw

                              2. Daniel S. Shusko, Linsie R. Myers, Michael Reed

                              3. Brittney A. Stembridge, Marrica R. Floyd, Trokon E. Gaye

                              4. Louis Covington



9/19 R               Fallacy Presentations:

                               Group members:

                                1. Todd L. McFarland, Zachary E. Mize, Audrey S. Whittle

                                           2. Asiayanna S. Shaw, Parion L. Mitchell, Kristopher D. Dawson, Galen Perry

                                           3. Connor A. Pittman, Wheaton Hall, Alex Jones

                                           4. Erica Bradley, Jessica Fazekas, Carol Radney, Ansley Lacy


9/24 T               Review of Fallacies during class time.

FALLACIES QUIZ in Blazeview in the Quizzes area, due at the end of the day on this date, 11:59pm.


(REMINDER: Advising for Spring 2014 begins soon. Plan ahead to make an appointment with your advisors.)     


9/26 R               Begin Hurley Chapter 6:

Propositional Logic, Translation in Symbolic Language 6.1                       


10/1 T               Truth Functions                                                 6.2


10/3 R               Truth Tables                                                      6.3       


10/8 T               Use of Truth Tables and Arguments                    6.4


10/10 R             Reviewing Truth Tables, Indirect Truth Tables      6.4-6.5


10/15 T             Review Truth Tables, Indirect Truth Tables           6.5



10/17 R            UNIT TEST CHAPTER 6          


10/22 T             Begin Hurley Chapter 7:

Rules of Implication I                             7.1







10/24 R             Rules of Implication II                            7.2      


10/29 T             Reviewing the first Rules of Implication in 7.1 and 7.2                           


10/31 R             Rules of Replacement I                          7.3 






11/5 T               Rules of Replacement II                         7.4






11/7 R              UNIT TEST ON FIRST FOUR PARTS OF CH. 7 


11/12 T             Applying Logic in Everyday Contexts:

                        Philosophy of Mind, Neurobiology and Logic:

                         Do various species have mental mapping in the hippocampus? 

                          Is there a physical, neurological, or biochemical explanation for the experience of God? 


11/14 R             Oliver Sacks; philosophy of mind, Williams Syndrome, Autism, other ways to look at

                        logical behavior     


11/19 T             Discussion of standardized testing and college admissions: Frontline, Inside the SAT.



11/21 R             Finishing up Logic and College Ability, Relating Logic to Other Courses

Last Official Class Meeting Date


11/26 T - 11/28 R No Class Meetings, Thanksgiving Week           




FINAL EXAMINATION: For classes that meet Tuesday-Thursday at 8am, the Registrar has determined that final exams must be completed by December 4, Wednesday at 10:15am.

Our final exam will cover the last unit of our class, on applying logic in everyday contexts. It will be in Blazeview in the Quizzes area and must be completed by that time.


To look up your other classes’ Fall final exams, see the online guide at the link to Registration at the university homepage:


Logic      Short Summary of Graded Items


Grade Item

Percentage of Final Grade

In Class or Online

If Online, Location in Blazeview

By Saturday 8/17/2013 at 11:59pm

First Introduction Discussion, Dropbox and Practice Quiz in Blazeview






Thursday 8/29

Quiz on Unit 1


In Class


Throughout the Semester

Participation in Class


In Class, perhaps some online Discussion as we go


By Thursday 9/19 based on sign-up for groups in Syllabus

Group Presentation on Fallacies


In Class, with uploading of powerpoints into Blazeview


Thursday 9/12, Tuesday 9/17 and Thursday 9/19

Peer Evaluations of Other Groups’ Fallacy Presentations


In Class on Paper Forms Each Group Presentation Day


By Tuesday 9/24 at 11:59pm

Fallacies Quiz




Thursday 10/17

Unit Test on Chapter 6


In Class on Paper


Thursday 11/7

Unit Test on Chapter 7


In Class on Paper


Wednesday 12/4 by 10:15am

Final Exam on last unit (applying Logic to life situations)




Online Course Evaluations

Student evaluations are extremely important in helping faculty members plan and revise their courses.  Rather than completing these evaluations during class time, students will need to access evaluation forms via BANNER and complete them in a period during the last few weeks of class.  Please take the time to complete this important evaluation (or opt out of providing an evaluation) during the designated period.  Students will receive an email notification through their VSU ( email address when the SOI is available (generally at least one week before the end of term.) SOI responses are anonymous to instructors/administrators. Instructors will be able to view only a summary of all responses two weeks after they have submitted final grades. While instructors will not be able to view individual responses or access any of the responses until after final grade submission, they will be able to see which students have or have not completed their SOIs, and student compliance may be considered in the determination of the final course grade. Some professors give extra credit for completing the SOI and some do not, please do not pressure any faculty member about giving extra credit - it's an individual instructor choice. These compliance and non-compliance reports will not be available once instructors are able to access the survey.