The study of philosophical argumentation and the practice of reading, writing, speaking, and listening allows for developing one’s thinking processes in a progressive and reflective way. Critical thinking provides specific techniques and tools whereby we can avoid basic fallacies in our own thinking and detect them in the thought of others. Recognition of formal and informal techniques for argument analysis will aid your detection of persuasive tricks in rhetoric. Practice problems will be presented on a formal and informal basis. Participation is mandatory and monitored; since you will experience a shift in your thinking process only if you are willing to engage with the subject matter. You will learn structural information to enhance the critical thinking skills you already possess, it is of equal importance to realize that your readiness to perform in this class is one variable for my assessment of your critical thinking maturity. Share newly gained knowledge and insights with your classmates. Expect intellectual intricacies to arise. Be prepared to develop skills for conflict resolution and for working together with others. [Satisfies GE category A3: Critical Thinking.] Cell phones must be turned off during session. No computers. Visit the academic calendar for relevant administrative dates that might affect your standing in class.
Presentation 20%, Final Exam 25%, Analysis Paper 20%, Student Log 15%, Attendance and Relevant Contributions to In-Class Activities 20%, from a total of 400 pts.
Critical Thinking by Brook Noel MOORE / Richard PARKER, McGrawHill 2012.
Other Texts (see Instructor first)
Merriam-Webster, Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition
Why Love Hurts by Eva ILLOUZ, Polity Books, 2012
Cypherpunks by Julian ASSANGE, Or Books, 2012
The Call to Radical Theology by Thomas J.J. ALTIZER, SUNY Press, 2012
Foodopoly by Wenonah HAUTER, The New Press, 2012
The final semester grade will be based on the five performance aspects listed above under ‘key.’ During an exam, you are allowed to use an unmarked printed dictionary (no computers). No other sources! It is essential to understand that the class has no tolerance for cheating or plagiarism, and the violators will, therefore, be dismissed from class immediately and permanently with a disciplinary course grade of “F”.
Clear your topic with the instructor (Illouz, Assange, Altizer, Hauterl) and follow the topical instructions stated on the sign-up sheet. Format: 7 pages, double-spaced and typed, 1-inch margins on all four sides, stapled, no cover page or folder or clear cover. The assignment must be well written; showing a high degree of English proficiency and analytical skills, authentic and honest, properly and appropriately referencing all sources, and crediting the ideas, words, and works of others. Any delay in submitting your paper past the posted deadline will result in a deduction of 5 points for each day. Helpful information for writing essays is at http://www.sonoma.edu/programs/writingcenter.
For the most part there will be a selection of picky multiple choice questions over readings, terminology, a short text analysis, and exercises related to the textbook or as we have practiced in class.
Topic and date(s) of your presentation must be scheduled by the posted date. 10 min. presentation, 15 min. discussion.
Use a small ‘green book’ or ‘blue book’ (32 pages, 8.5 X 7 inches) and write by hand approx. 2 pages per entry. Select topics that are of genuine interest to you, suitable for public debate, relate to yor reflection about current events, and demonstrate your maturity and awareness. Avoid generic statements (“what people do”), do not discuss campus life. Your topic will be intellectually responsible, philosophically sound, is not to be researched but draws from your current knowledge-base as an informed citizen. Read one of your logs to the class and lead a 20-minutes in-depth discussion. Successful discussion with demonstrated leadership is 20 pts., each handwritten log is 4 pts.
There are no make-ups for any of the exams, except in very severe cases of emergency. In such a case, a message must be left in my office or by voice mail within 48 hours after the exam. No message—no make-up. There are no extra credit assignments. Strict university regulations govern Final exams, no make-ups will be granted.
It is helpful to schedule approximately 6 hours of active studying per week outside the classroom to receive a CR or a C grade. For every grade step add two additional hours. (To receive an A, schedule an average of at least 10 hours studying time per week).
Grade requirements and description of grades
F failure 199 pts. and below, or with proven plagiarism.
D barely passing 200 pts.
C average 250 pts. Indicates adequate fulfillment of requirements, and average, but not notable work.
B very good 310 pts. Is earned by fulfilling the course requirement with more than adequate scholarship.
A- outstanding 350 pts.
A outstanding 375 pts., To earn an A or A-, the student must demonstrate outstanding scholarship above and beyond fulfilling all the course requirements.
CR same as grade C- (230 pts.) or better.
W Withdrawal prior to the posted deadline.
I Incomplete. Only in exceptional cases. Has to be removed within one calendar year.
Phil 101 is consistent with G.E. goals and objectives (read the G.E. mission statement). At the conclusion of this course, the student will have:
(1) recognized the function and role of universities and higher learning for personal development and mature citizenship,
(2) developed argumentative and analytic skills for effective articulation, critique, and defense of knowledge claims,
(3) practiced reasoned argumentation,
(4) gained insight into formal and informal aspects of logic,
(5) become acquainted with some of the most effective strategies of communication,
(6) recognized the difference in scope and intention of theoretical reasoning versus practical reasoning,
(7) practiced leadership in argumentation,
(8) practiced editing strategies to improve writing skills, and
(9) improved effective listening and awareness of others in a dialogical context.
I will test these skills in various exams, activities, and by means of observation. This is a real-life situation starting from the first day of class until the semester grade is submitted. Be patient with acquiring your new skills. Continuous practice will improve your ability to focus your thoughts and enhance your performance. In the beginning it may take you some time to understand the scope and purpose of discussions and exercises. Present all your work in a neat format and within the assigned guidelines.
(1) Students with disabilities must communicate all requests for special accommodations during the first three days of class. (2) All exams can be reviewed throughout one calendar year and will be recycled thereafter. (3) Preferred contact is office visit, then phone message, lastly by e-mail <firstname.lastname@example.org>. (4) Please consult online information for relevant SSU policies: Grade appeals, cheating and plagiarism, and grievance; and the Campus Diversity Vision Statement.