Dr. Christine A. James

PHIL 2020 A CRN 81711 and AA CRN 82452 Meeting TR 9:30am in West Hall 1215 PHIL 2020 B CRN 81712 Meeting TR 3:30pm West Hall 1215


Office: 1203 Ashley Hall

Office Hours: MTWR 2:00-3:15pm, and after classes and by appointment as needed/requested.

Telephone: 229-259-7609

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

Fax: 229-259-5011

E-mail address: It is always helpful to mention which class you are in when you email.

Please note that specific dates for readings and graded assignments in the syllabus may be adjusted and updated throughout the semester. The syllabus is always online in Blazeview.

Course Content: What does it take to clearly express an idea? 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.

This course includes a variety of materials, including online source material, multimedia packages, and a textbook written by the professor.


Principles of Logic and Reasoning: Including LSAT, GRE, and Writing Skills

Christine James

ISBN-9781465257024, 1 Edition, 178 Pages, (c)2015 The book is available for $32 as an eBook direct from the publisher.

Or Writing/dp/1465257020/ref=la_B00XK8A61C_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1438641110&sr=1-1


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.

All learning outcomes will be evaluated via formative and summative assessments, including research papers, formal presentations in class including verbal expression and Powerpoint presentations, and written work in Blazeview including Discussion postings, Assignment attachments of Word .doc or .docx format, and Assessment quizzes.

Requirements: Three unit tests, daily homework graded in class, 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.

How grades will be calculated:


= 100 - 90%


= 89 - 80%


= 79 - 70%

Please note that I am not obligated to accept any late work,


= 69 - 60%

and I do not have to give late examinations after the date listed on the


= 59 - 0%

syllabus. You must complete work on time.

First week of Blazeview items: First Discussion, First Dropbox, First Practice Quiz = 5% Five Unit Quizzes, 5% each = 25%

Midterm Exam = 10% Final Exam = 10%

Seven Unit Discussions, 5% each = 35% Regular Participation and In Class Work = 15% Total = 100%

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: Students with disabilities who are experiencing barriers in this course may contact the Access Office for assistance in determining and implementing reasonable accommodations. The Access Office is located in Farbar Hall. The phone numbers are 229-245-2498 (V), 229-375-5871 (VP) and 229-219-1348 (TTY). For more information, please visit VSU’s Access Office in Farbar Hall, or


Campus Carry: For information regarding HB 280, please see or

Title IX Statement: Valdosta State University (VSU) is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive work and learning environment free from discrimination and harassment. VSU is dedicated to creating an environment where all campus community members feel valued, respected, and included. Valdosta State University prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, national origin, sex (including pregnancy status, sexual harassment and sexual violence), sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, age, national origin, disability, genetic information, or veteran status, in the University's programs and activities as required by applicable laws and regulations such as Title IX. The individual designated with responsibility for coordination of compliance efforts and receipt of inquiries concerning nondiscrimination policies is the University's Title IX Coordinator: Maggie Viverette, Director of the Office of Social Equity,, 1208 N. Patterson St., Valdosta State University, Valdosta, Georgia 31608, 229-333-5463.

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:

E-Mail: 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.

Schedule: 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 20 (T 8/20)

Introduction to class. Begin homework, using the online information in Blazeview and clicking and reading the links in the course “Content” in Blazeview.

What is Philosophy? Do Philosophy majors get jobs related to that major? Here are two pages to answer that:

Remember to complete the first Discussion, Dropbox, and Quizzes! Our course includes regular work in Blazeview. Blazeview direct link: d2l.php or through My VSU on the homepage

Helpful readings about college life, in Blazeview:

Behaviors that Professors Love Things This Instructor Loves

Ways to Make Your Professor Love You College Professor Pet Peeves

Knowing What to Call Your Professor

Video on Setting Priorities

Thursday, August 22 (R 8/22)

Unit 1 Critical Thinking and Philosophy

In Unit 1, we will learn about the concept of Critical Thinking and practice applying it to evaluating positions, advertising, and disagreements in practical life.


Use the tools and concepts of logic and critical thinking to evaluate and criticize arguments.


Principles of Logic and Reasoning: Including LSAT, GRE, and Writing Skills Chapter 1, pages 1-14 Categories, Statements, and Definitions

Extra web material: Click through the module on Critical Thinking: (Old link now under reconstruction

was: ) Creative Commons NonCommercial Share and Share Alike

Please note that by Saturday 8/24 at 11:59pm, you should have completed your first Discussion, Dropbox, and Introductory Quiz in Blazeview. These are all short items that simply show you are learning how the Blazeview course works.

Remember, to have excess financial aid direct deposited to your bank account, you must set up your information following the instructions here by the last day of

drop/add: deposit-excess-check.php

The last day to transfer excess financial aid to Flex is August 27. For more information, see: account-terms-and-conditions.php

T 8/27

Continuing the Concepts of Critical Thinking Our video on Critical Thinking is: Creative Commons Open Courseware

Reminder of all Unit 1 Online Activities:

One Unit Quiz (Quizzes in Blazeview are timed, I always try to give you 120 minutes if you need it!) Unit Discussion on Critical Thinking

Self-Assessment, Short Multiple Choice, Ungraded for Practice within the Unit

Unit 1 Critical Thinking Quiz (In the Quizzes Tool in Blazeview, under “Assessments”) and the Unit 1 Discussion with your own reply and replies to two other students, Must Be Completed by Wednesday 8/28 by 11:59pm)

Please note that Proof Rolls (Attendance Verification) are due from faculty during the next week. The Proof Roll verifies that you are

attending class, and begins the disbursement of your financial aid overage.


R 8/29

Unit 2: Arguments

In Unit 2, we will address how arguments are structured in more detail.


Become familiar with the parts of arguments and examples of different types of arguments.


Principles of Logic and Reasoning: Including LSAT, GRE, and Writing Skills Chapter 2, pages 15-26 Understanding Arguments

Unit 2 Extra Web Material: ForAllx (For this unit, only read Chapter 1): CC

Critical Thinking Web at the University of Hong Kong: Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike Reviewing the Parts of Arguments and Considering Examples

Your financial aid overage should be either received by direct deposit or mailed to you this upcoming week.

T 9/3

Deductive and Inductive by Center for Innovation in Legal Education

Deduction and Induction in movies qgBH9b23LP3OsuOqvZi&index=2

R 9/5

Mark Thorsby on Deduction and Induction

Tom Richey on Deduction and Induction

Reminder of Unit 2 Online Activities:

Unit Quiz and

Unit Discussion Topic, due Saturday 9/7 by 11:59pm

Self-Assessments, Short Multiple Choice Ungraded for Practice within the Unit

Notetaking, Reviewing for the Unit 2 Arguments Quiz (In the Quizzes Tool in Blazeview, under “Assessments,” Must Be Completed by Saturday 9/7 by 11:59pm)


T 9/10

Unit 3: Syllogisms and Venn Diagrams

In Unit 3 we will learn how to analyze arguments made up of categorical propositions. These arguments, called syllogisms, are evaluated using Venn diagrams, mood, and figure to determine the validity of syllogisms.


Translate categorical propositions and Venn Diagrams, use Venn diagrams to establish mood and figure, and use Venn Diagrams to evaluate syllogistic arguments for validity.


Principles of Logic and Reasoning: Including LSAT, GRE, and Writing Skills Chapter 3, pages 27-50, Syllogisms ad the Square of Opposition

R 9/12

Unit 3 Extra Web Material 1: Module on Venn Diagrams Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike

Unit 3 Extra Web Material 2: Venn

Diagrams CC BY

Videos on Syllogisms and Venn Diagrams

Evaluating Arguments beginners/id387875757?mt=10#ls=1 CC Oxford Open U

T 9/17

Mick Presnell video on Venn Diagrams ThinkPhilosophy on Venn Diagramming

Reminder of Unit 3 Online Activities: One Unit Quiz

Unit Discussion Topic due Wednesday 9/18 by 11:59pm

Self-Assessments, Short Multiple Choice Ungraded for Practice within the Unit

The Midterm Exam is the Unit 3 extended Quiz in the Blazeview Assessments>Quizzes Tool, due by Wednesday 9/18 by 11:59pm.

Soon, Dr. James will enter your In Progress grades in Banner. In Progress grades are a way to gauge how

your performance has been in the class.


R 9/19

Unit 4: Symbolic Logic (Sentential)

In Unit 4 we will learn how to analyze arguments based on their sentence structure. There are ways to symbolize particular kinds of sentences, and then use those symbols to find out what makes a sentence true or false, and whether or not sentences in the form of arguments actually follow from each other with deductive validity or not.


Determine truth values using truth tables, generate proofs from rules of inference, and determine the validity of symbolized arguments.


Principles of Logic and Reasoning: Including LSAT, GRE, and Writing Skills Chapter 4, pages 51-94; Proofs and Derivations Using Rules of Inference and Rules of Replacement, pp51-94

Unit 4 Extra Web Material 1: ForAllx Chapter 2 CC

T 9/24

Unit 4 Extra Web Material 2: Necessary and Sufficient

Conditions Creative Commons Attribution- Noncommercial-Share Alike

Unit 4 Extra Web Material 3: Module on Basic Logic Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike

R 9/26

Unit 4 Extra Web Material 4: Module on Sentential Logic Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike

October 10 is the official “midterm date” for VSU, but we have already done the “midterm exam” as the expanded unit quiz at the end of Unit 3. Some VSU courses have a midterm exam at this time, and some do not (especially if the course has “units” of content.)

Remember that registration for Spring and Summer 2020 courses will begin Monday October 28. You should meet your major advisor at some point in October, remembering that Fall Break shortens the time available in that month.

Unit 4 Extra Web Material 5: Truth Tables CC BY

Unit 4 Extra Web Material 6: ForAllx Chapter 3 CC

October 17 is the last date to have a W instead of a WF in a class at VSU. Remember that you can only take five W

grades in your entire Bachelor’s degree at VSU.

T 10/1

Symbolic Logic videos:

William Spaniel on truth tables

R 10/3

Holly Ourso on basic truth tables

Angiewvc truth tables to check arguments for validity

T 10/8

Fall Break No Class

R 10/10

Statement and Argument Truth Tables, Rules of Inference

T 10/15

Reminder of Unit 4 Online Activities all due by Wednesday 10/16 at 11:59pm: One Unit Quiz Unit Discussion Topic (See attachement in Blazeview Discussion labeled for Unit 4.)

Self-Assessments, Short Multiple Choice Ungraded for Practice within the Unit

The Unit 4 Quiz (In the Quizzes Tool in Blazeview, under “Assessments,” and the unit Discussions Must Be Completed by Wednesday 10/16 by 11:59pm


R 10/17

Unit 5: Fallacies

In Unit 5, we will discover fallacies. Fallacies are errors in reasoning that happen very often. There are names and categories for different fallacies.


Recognize fallacies by category; recognizing arguments with problems in relevance, sufficiency, acceptability.

T 10/22


Principles of Logic and Reasoning: Including LSAT, GRE, and Writing Skills Chapter 5, Fallacies, Relevance, Sufficiency and Acceptability, pages 95-110

Unit 5 Extra Web Material 1: Fallacies and Biases Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike

Unit 5 Reading 2: Fallacies pdf set CC

R 10/24

Five Fallacies Idea Channel PBS

Even More Fallacies Idea Channel PBS

Cognitive Biases: from-being- rational?utm_content=buffer1e184&utm_medium=social& Extra Video for Fallacies Review

T 10/29

Fallacies in Pres Debates (Both) Fallacies (Trump) Fallacies (Clinton) Pulp Fiction ambiguity example

Unit 5 Extra Web Material 3: Stephen Downes' Guide to Logical Fallacies CC BY

Reminder of Unit 5 Online Activities: Unit Discussion

Self-Assessments, Short Multiple Choice Ungraded for Practice within the Unit Unit Quiz

Discussion and Unit Quiz all due Wednesday 10/30 at 11:59pm.


R 10/31

Unit 6: Logic and Research

In Unit 6 we will evaluate different types of research, and the concepts associated with creating a literature review for an argumentative research paper. We will discuss primary sources and secondary sources, and how to summarize argumentative positions in research articles.


Evaluating peer-reviewed source material, writing from the perspective of argumentative essays and critiquing research based arguments.

Unit 6 Readings and Web Material:

Chapter 6, Principles of Logic and Reasoning Including LSAT, GRE, and Writing Skills: ResearchPapers, Methods, Drafting, and Proofreading, pages 111-128

Unit 6 Extra Web Material 1: Empire State College Information Skills Tutorial uate/ Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike

T 11/5

Unit 6 Extra Web Material 2: Evaluating Internet Material by

Boundless textbook/topic-research-gathering-materials-and-evidence-8/internet-research-43/evaluating-internet- material-184-10644/? communications-textbook/topic-research-gathering-materials-and-evidence-8/internet-research- 43/evaluating-internet-material-184-10644/? Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike

R 11/7

Unit 6 Extra Web Material 3: Finding the Good Argument; or Why Bother with Logic? CC

Writing Good Argumentative Essays

Reminder of Unit 6 Online Activities: One Unit Quiz

Unit Discussion Topic due Saturday 11/9 by 11:59pm

Self-Assessments, Short Multiple Choice Ungraded for Practice within the Unit

The Unit 6 Quiz (In the Quizzes Tool in Blazeview, under “Assessments,” and the Discussion, Must Be Completed by Saturday 11/9 by 11:59pm)



T 11/12 Read the Unit 7 Content and Powerpoints.

Unit 7: Logic and Law

In Unit 7 we will evaluate how argumentation is used in legal contexts. We will consider sample LSAT examination questions, and we will address how logic is an integral part of law school training. We will look at resources for persuasive writing as they could apply to legal argumentation in written briefs and in litigation.


Analyzing legal argumentation and sample LSAT questions, practicing persuasive writing and argumentation for litigation.

Readings and web material:

Principles of Logic and Reasoning: Including LSAT, GRE, and Writing Skills Chapter 7, Applying Logic to Real Life: Law, Philosophy of Mind, and Standardized Testing, pages 129-140

Understanding Arguments

Unit 7 Extra Web Material 1: Logic for Law Students: How to Think Like a


Lawyer CC BY

R 11/14

Vern Walker's Logic and Legal Reasoning

Unit 7 Extra Web Material 2: Paralegal Alliance: The Law School Admissions Test "LSAT" – Arguments arguments/#axzz3GmtWGGvE CC BY

LSAT Trainer Logical Reasoning LSAT Logic Games and Diagramming

T 11/19

Unit 7 Extra Web Material 3:

Paralegal Alliance: Writing to Persuade persuade/#axzz3GmtWGGvE CC BY

Total LSAT Prep Logical Reasoning Tort Law: Hot Coffee

R 11/21

Contract Law: The Paper Chase

Legal Precedents and Appellate Courts: Reversal of Fortune example 1 Reversal of Fortune example 2

Reversal of Fortune example 3

T 11/26

Blueprint Logic Reasoning Question LSAT Logic Games Essentials LSAT Logic Games Lesson

Metacognition (How You Study from Samford U)

R 11/28 T-Day Break No Class

T 12/3

Final Exam (which is the Unit 7 Quiz) Open, in Quizzes Tool

Unit work due at Final Exam time and day: Unit 7 Discussion Topic, Unit 7 Quiz which is The Final Exam

(In the Quizzes Tool in Blazeview, under “Assessments,”) Must Be Completed in Blazeview by the time and date listed for your section below.)

R 12/5

Review if Needed

FINAL EXAMINATION: For classes that meet TR at 9:30am the final exam time is Thursday December 12 at 8am. For classes that meet TR at 3:30pm, the final exam time is Friday December 13 at 2:45pm. Remember to turn in all work, including the Unit 7 Final Quiz and Discussion, by your section’s time.

For your other final exams, here is the schedule document:

Logic Short Summary of Graded Items


Grade Item

Percentage of Final Grade

In Class or Online

If Online, Location in Blazeview

By Saturday 8/24 at 11:59pm

First Introduction Discussion, Dropbox and Practice Quiz in Blazeview



Discussions Dropbox Quizzes


Participation and Attendance in Blazeview


In Class

Wed 8/28 by 11:59pm

Unit 1 Quiz

and Discussions


In Class and Online


and Communication>Discussions

Saturday 9/7 by 11:59pm

Unit 2 Quiz and Discussions


In Class and Online

Assessments>Quizzes and Communication>Discussions

Wed 9/18 by 11:59pm

Unit 3 Discussions


In Class and Online


Wed 9/18 by 11:59pm

Midterm, primarily focused on Unit

3 Material




Wed 10/16 by 11:59pm

Unit 4 Quiz and Discussions




Wed 10/30 by 11:59pm

Unit 5 Discussions and Unit 5 Quiz


In Class and Online

Assessments>Quizzes and Communication>Discussions

Sat 11/9 by 11:59pm

Unit 6 Discussions and Unit 6 Quiz


In Class and Online

Assessments>Quizzes and Communication>Discussions

Final Exam Time By Section

Final Exam and Unit 7 Discussions Time Due Determined by

Final Examination schedule listed above

10% Unit 7 Discussion

10% Final Exam

In Class and Online

Assessments>Quizzes and Communication>Discussions