Dr. Christine A. James

Philosophy 2020 Section A

T  5:00pm-6:15pm in West Hall 104 with additional work online.         CRN 20392

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 Text: 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.)


Recommended but not required texts:

Aristotle and an Aardvark Go to Washington by Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein, Abrams Image, ISBN-10: 0810995417, ISBN-13: 978-0810995413

(In addition, 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 give late examinations after the date listed on the

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


            1 Quiz at 10% = 10%

            3 Unit Tests at 10% each = 20%

            Participation, both in class meetings and working in Blazeview each week = 30%

            1 Final Exam at 30% = 30%

            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 is 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.


Special Needs:

Students requiring classroom accommodations or modification because of a documented disability should discuss this need with me at the beginning of the semester. Students requesting classroom accommodations or modifications because of a documented disability must contact the Access Office for Students with Disabilities located in Farber Hall. The phone numbers are 245-2498 (voice) and 219-1348 (tty).


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 are links to the Academic Honesty Policies and Procedures, and the Report of Academic Dishonesty.



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, January 8: Introduction to class.          Begin homework, using the online information here:       




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


1/15                  Statements/Arguments    Read 1.1-1.2-1.3 in Hurley’s Concise Introduction to Logic book                                                                                                                                                                       

1/22                  Deduction and Induction                                                1.3 - 1.4


1/29                  Evaluating Arguments, Language of Symbolic Logic 1.4


2/5                    UNIT TEST ON CHAPTER 1 (After the test, begin reading in the next sections, come in next class having already read the material.)


2/12                  Informal Fallacies, finding errors in reading in written work.

                        Fallacies information handout:


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


2/19                  FALLACIES QUIZ


2/26                  Begin Propositional Logic, Translation in Symbolic Language 6.1                       


3/5                    Truth Functions and Truth Tables                       6.2-6.3


3/12                  Use of Truth Tables for Validity of Arguments                 6.4


3/19                  VSU Spring Break, No Class


3/26                  UNIT TEST CHAPTER 6


4/2                    Begin Chapter 7, Rules of Implication I                           7.1








4/9                    Rules of Implication II                            7.2                   


4/16                  UNIT TEST ON CH. 7 RULES OF IMPLICATION


4/23                  Applying Logic to Life: Oliver Sacks; philosophy of mind, Williams Syndrome, Autism, other ways to look at logical behavior; social knowledge and logic





FINAL EXAMINATION: For classes that meet Tuesday-Thursday at 5pm, the Registrar has determined that final exams must be turned in by Thursday, May 2 at 7:15pm.

Our final exam will be in Blazeview and must be completed by that time.

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

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. If you do not do so, you will not be able to access the grade for this class, scheduled to be posted on the Monday after the final examination days. They will be in Banner under Answer a Survey.

At the end of the term, all students will be expected to complete an online Student Opinion of Instruction survey (SOI) that will be available on Banner (where you registered for classes). 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 and a timetable for this term is available at

The Administration has not yet opened the online SOI forms, and Dr. James will update the class with instructions when they are available.