Dr. Christine A. James

Philosophy 2020 Section A and G
TR 8:00am-9:15am (Section A, CRN 21153) and TR 5:00-6:15pm (Section G, CRN 22377) in West Hall 150    
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.

This course was developed as part of an Affordable Learning Georgia Textbook Transformation Grant awarded to faculty at Valdosta State University. The purpose of these grants is to combat the high cost of textbooks. In the case of logic textbooks used in the State System of Georgia's introductory level logic courses, most textbooks cost in the neighborhood of $100-$200. This grant enabled us to create a repository of Open Educational Resources and Creative Commons materials, design a course around those materials, and teach two pilot sections of those courses in the Spring of 2015. Thank you for participating in this project, and taking the first free Logic course available at VSU.


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: None. See the readings and activities linked in Blazeview and in the Syllabus. Blazeview is VSU’s version of Desire2Learn Brightspace, an online course portal with a variety of features.

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.
            First week of Blazeview items: First Discussion, First Dropbox, First Practice Quiz = 5%
            Five Unit Quizzes = 25%
            Midterm Exam = 10%
            Final Exam = 10%
            Seven Unit Discussions = 35%
            Three Required Logic App = 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: 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 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:  

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, January 13 (1/13 T)    
Introduction to class. Begin homework, using the online information in Blazeview and clicking and reading the links in the course “Content” in Blazeview.                           
Remember to complete the first Discussion, Dropbox, and Quizzes! Our course includes regular work in Blazeview. 
            New Blazeview:
1/15 R               

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.

Readings and Multimedia

Our reading on Critical Thinking is:  Creative Commons NonCommercial Share and Share Alike
Please note that by Saturday, 1/17 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.

1/20 T               

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


1/22 R              

Reminder of all Unit 1 Online Activities:
One Unit Quiz
Two Unit Discussion Topics, due Sunday 1/25 by 11:59pm
Self-Assessments, Short Multiple Choice, Ungraded for Practice within the Unit

Notetaking, Reviewing for the Unit 1 Critical Thinking Quiz (In the Quizzes Tool in Blazeview, under “Assessments,” Must Be Completed by Sunday 1/25 by 11:59pm)


1/27 T              

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.
1/29 R               

There are two readings in Unit 2:

Unit 2 Reading 1: ForAllx (For this unit, only read Chapter 1):   CC

Unit 2 Reading 2: from the Critical Thinking Web at the University of Hong Kong:  Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike

2/3 T                 

Reviewing the Parts of Arguments and Considering Examples in Class

2/5 R                

Our video for Unit 2 comes from Oxford iTunesU:
Nature of Arguments   CC Oxford Open U

 2/10 T               
Reminder of Unit 2 Online Activities:

One Unit Quiz
Two Unit Discussion Topics, due Wednesday 2/11 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 Wednesday 2/11 by 11:59pm)

2/12 R               
Unit 3     Fallacies
In Unit 3, 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.    
2/17 T               
There are three readings in Unit 3:
Unit 3 Reading 1: Fallacies and Biases      Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike
Unit 3 Reading 2: Fallacies pdf set   CC
2/19 R       
Unit 3 Reading 3: Stephen Downes' Guide to Logical Fallacies   CC BY 
Bring in an example of a fallacy that you found online or in news media publications, and present it to the class.

2/24 T       
Reminder of Unit 3 Online Activities:
Midterm Exam
Two Unit Discussion Topics, due Wednesday 2/25 at 11:59pm.
Self-Assessments, Short Multiple Choice Ungraded for Practice within the Unit

The Midterm Exam is an extended Quiz in the Blazeview Assessments>Quizzes Tool, due by Wednesday 2/25 at 11:59pm.       
2/26 R               

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.

There are six readings in Unit 4:
Unit 4 Reading 1: ForAllx Chapter 2    CC

3/3 T       
Unit 4 Reading 2: Necessary and Sufficient Conditions     Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike

Unit 4 Reading 3: Module on Basic Logic   Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike

Our online multimedia app is:
The Logic App -
(Work in this Unit includes making screencaptures of your work in the Logic App.)

3/5 R               

Post your first screencap of a Logic App proof in Discussions by today’s class.

Unit 4 Reading 4: Module on Sentential Logic   Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike

3/10 T

Unit 4 Reading 5: Truth Tables     CC BY

3/12 R   

Unit 4 Reading 6: ForAllx Chapter 3    CC

Post your second screencap of a Logic App proof in Discussions by today’s class.

3/17 T
Our video on Symbolic Logic is:
Different Types of Arguments    CC Oxford Open U

Post your third screencap of a Logic App proof in Discussions by today’s class.

3/19 R   

Reminder of Unit 4 Online Activities: One Unit Quiz
At least 2 Unit Discussion Topics, to include posting of Logic App screencaptures (due throughout the Unit)
Self-Assessments, Short Multiple Choice Ungraded for Practice within the Unit   
The Unit 4 Quiz (In the Quizzes Tool in Blazeview, under “Assessments,” Must Be Completed by Thursday 3/19 by 11:59pm)

3/24 T - 3/26 R        

No Classes This Week, Spring Break     
3/31 T             

Unit 5    Syllogisms and Venn Diagrams

In Unit 5 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.

There are two readings in Unit 5:

Unit 5 Reading 1: Module on Venn Diagrams   Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike

4/2 R   
Unit 5 Reading 2: Venn Diagrams   CC BY

4/7 T             

Our video on Syllogisms and Venn Diagrams is:
Evaluating Arguments     CC Oxford Open U 

4/9 R             

Reminder of Unit 5 Online Activities: One Unit Quiz
At least 2 Unit Discussion Topics due Thursday 4/9 by 11:59pm
Self-Assessments, Short Multiple Choice Ungraded for Practice within the Unit
The Unit 5 Quiz (In the Quizzes Tool in Blazeview, under “Assessments,” Must Be Completed by Thursday 4/9 by 11:59pm)

4/14 T             

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.

There are three readings in Unit 6:

Unit 6 Reading 1: Empire State College Information Skills Tutorial        Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike

Unit 6 Reading 2: Evaluating Internet Material by Boundless       Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike   

4/16 R             

Unit 6 Reading 3: Finding the Good Argument; or Why Bother With Logic?    CC
4/21 T               

Reminder of Unit 6 Online Activities: One Short Writing Assignment (Dropbox)
One Unit Quiz
At least 2 Unit Discussion Topics due Wednesday 4/22 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 Short Writing Assignment (in the “Dropbox”) Must Be Completed by Wednesday 4/22 by 11:59pm)
4/23 R              

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 Multimedia

There are three readings in Unit 7:
Unit 7 Reading 1: Logic for Law Students: How to Think Like a Lawyer        CC BY

Unit 7 Reading 2: Paralegal Alliance: The Law School Admissions Test "LSAT" – Arguments         CC BY

4/28 T             

Unit 7 Reading 3: Paralegal Alliance: Writing to Persuade       CC BY
4/30 R             

Final Exam, in Quizzes Tool
At least 2 Unit Discussion Topics (to be completed by your section’s final exam time, listed below)
Self-Assessments, Short Multiple Choice Ungraded for Practice within the Unit    
The Final Exam (In the Quizzes Tool in Blazeview, under “Assessments,”) Must Be Completed by the time and date listed below for your section of the course:                                                  

FINAL EXAMINATION: For classes that meet Tuesday-Thursday at 8am, the Registrar has determined that final exams will be May 6, Wednesday, at 10:15am.
For classes that meet Tuesday-Thursday at 5pm, the Registrar has determined that final exams will be May 7, Thursday, at 7:15pm.
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 1/17/2015 at 11:59pm

First Introduction Discussion, Dropbox and Practice Quiz in Blazeview




Sunday 1/25 by 11:59pm

Unit 1 Quiz and Discussions


In Class and Online

Assessments>Quizzes and Communication>Discussions

Wednesday 2/11 by 11:59pm

Unit 2 Quiz and Discussions


In Class and Online

Assessments>Quizzes and Communication>Discussions

Wednesday 2/25 by 11:59pm

Unit 3 Discussions


In Class and Online


Wednesday 2/25 by 11:59pm

Midterm, primarily focused on Unit 3 Material




Thursday 3/5 by 11:59pm

 The Logic App screencap 1




Thursday 3/12 by 11:59pm

 The Logic App screencap 2




Tuesday 3/17 by 11:59pm

 The Logic App screencap 3



Additional screencaps may be turned in through Dropbox for extra credit

Thursday 3/19 by 11:59pm

Unit 4 Quiz




Thursday 4/9 by 11:59pm

Unit 5 Discussions and Unit 5 Quiz


In Class and Online

Assessments>Quizzes and Communication>Discussions

Wednesday 4/22 by 11:59pm

Unit 6 Discussions and Unit 6 Quiz


In Class and Online

Assessments>Quizzes and Communication>Discussions

Your final due time based on section

Final Exam and Unit 7 Discussions
Section A Wed 5/6 10:15am
Section G Thurs 5/7 7:15pm

10% Unit 7 Discussion
10% Final Exam

In Class and Online

Assessments>Quizzes and Communication>Discussions







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.