Dr. Christine A. James

TR 9:30am-10:45am (Section A, CRN 21410) West Hall 1215


TR 11:00am-12:15pm (Section B, CRN 21411)

Office: 1203 Ashley Hall
Office Hours: 
MWTR 2:00-3:15pm, 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: 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 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 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.




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: 
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, 5% each = 25% 
                Midterm Exam = 10% 
                Final Exam = 10% 
                Seven Unit Discussions, 5% each = 35%

Regular Participation and In Class Work = 10%

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 or email:

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.

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:  


The last day to transfer excess financial aid to Flex is January 17 at 5pm:


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 9 (T 1/9)    
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: or through My VSU on the homepage                                                 

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, 1/13 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.

Thursday, 1/11 (R 1/11)              

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 Tuesday 1/16 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.


T 1/16              

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
R 1/18

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

T 1/23                 

Reviewing the Parts of Arguments and Considering Examples in Class

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

R 1/25                

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

T 1/30
Reminder of Unit 2 Online Activities: 

One Unit Quiz
Unit Discussion Topics, due Wednesday 1/31 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 1/31 by 11:59pm) 

R 2/1             

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


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


T 2/6   
Unit 3 Extra Web Material 2: Venn Diagrams   CC BY

R 2/8             

Videos on Syllogisms and Venn Diagrams
Evaluating Arguments     CC Oxford Open U 


T 2/13             

Reminder of Unit 3 Online Activities: One Unit Quiz
Unit Discussion Topics due Wednesday 2/14 by 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 2/14 at 11:59pm.   

During the next week, 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 2/15               

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 2/20      
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

OPTIONAL online multimedia app:
The Logic App - 


R 2/22               

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

March 1 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 Summer and Fall 2018 courses will begin Monday April 2. You should plan to meet your major advisor at some point in March, remembering that Spring Break shortens the time available in that month.


T 2/27

Unit 4 Extra Web Material 5: Truth Tables     CC BY

Unit 4 Extra Web Material 6: ForAllx Chapter 3    CC


March 8 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. March 1 is the official midpoint date.

R 3/1

Our video on Symbolic Logic is:
Different Types of Arguments    CC Oxford Open U


T 3/6   

Reminder of Unit 4 Online Activities all due by Wednesday 3/7 at 11:59pm: One Unit Quiz
Unit Discussion Topics (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 3/7 by 11:59pm


R 3/8               

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 3/13 – R 3/15 Spring Break Week No Classes


T 3/20               

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 3/22
Unit 5 Extra Web Material 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.

On 4/2, Summer and Fall course registration will be open in Banner. It is important to see your advisor before this date.


T 3/27       
Reminder of Unit 5 Online Activities:
2 Unit Discussions
Self-Assessments, Short Multiple Choice Ungraded for Practice within the Unit

Unit Quiz

Discussions and Unit Quiz all due Wednesday 3/28 at 11:59pm. 



R 3/29             

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        Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike

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

T 4/3

Unit 6 Extra Web Material 3: Finding the Good Argument; or Why Bother With Logic?    CC
R 4/5              

Reminder of Unit 6 Online Activities:
One Unit Quiz
Unit Discussion Topics due Saturday 4/7 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 4/7 by 11:59pm) 
T 4/10              

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

R 4/12

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

T 4/17

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

R 4/19

Unit 7 Extra Web Material 3: Paralegal Alliance: Writing to Persuade       CC BY


T 4/24

Review Day, emphasis of the final exam is Unit 7

R 4/26             

Final Exam Open, in Quizzes Tool
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 in Blazeview by the time and date listed below for your section of the course.     

FINAL EXAMINATION: For classes that meet Tuesday-Thursday at 9:30am, the Registrar has determined that final exams will be due Thursday May 3 at 8am.
For classes that meet Tuesday-Thursday at 11am, the Registrar has determined that final exams will be due Wednesday May 2 at 10:15am.
Our final exam will be in Blazeview in the Quizzes area and must be completed by the time that your class final would have begun, so it will lock at the time mentioned above.
To look up your other classes’ Spring 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 1/13 at 11:59pm

First Introduction Discussion, Dropbox and Practice Quiz in Blazeview






All Classes

Participation and Attendance


In Class


Tuesday 1/16 by 11:59pm

Unit 1 Quiz and Discussions


In Class and Online

Assessments>Quizzes and Communication>Discussions

Wednesday 1/31 by 11:59pm

Unit 2 Quiz and Discussions


In Class and Online

Assessments>Quizzes and Communication>Discussions

Wednesday 2/14 by 11:59pm

Unit 3 Discussions


In Class and Online


Wednesday 2/14 by 11:59pm

Midterm, primarily focused on Unit 3 Material




Wednesday 3/7 by 11:59pm

Unit 4 Quiz and Discussions




Wednesday 3/28 by 11:59pm

Unit 5 Discussions and Unit 5 Quiz


In Class and Online

Assessments>Quizzes and Communication>Discussions

Saturday 4/7 by11:59pm

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
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


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 as extra credit 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.