PLEASE NOTE THAT ALL WINTER COURSES TAUGHT ON-LINE AT COC WILL BE TAUGHT USING CANVAS, NOT BLACKBOARD.
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Note: There are several letters below for each of the classes I teach during the FALL 2016 semester. Please be sure to scroll down to the view the appropriate letter for your particular class section.
Note that your class will NOT appear in your list of CANVAS courses and be available in CANVAS at coc.instructure.com until the first day of the semester.
Students that do not sign into the course and complete the instructions on the first day of class will be dropped from the class, per COC policy.
PHILOS 106 ONLINE: CRITICAL REASONING
SECTION 26717 (1/3/2017 - 2/4/2017)
Logic is the art of making truth prevail." -- Le
Professor: Dr. Andrew Jones-Cathcart
Office: On-line (Essentially, students will contact me through Canvas e-mail, discussions, and chat (if applicable). In addition, students may visit me during my office hours on the COC main campus. These will be posted at the start of the semester.)
e-mail me within Canvas using the Inbox feature.
WHEN SENDING E-MAIL TO MY CANYONS.EDU ADDRESS, MAKE SURE YOU SPECIFY YOUR NAME, CLASS, AND SECTION NUMBER SOMEWHERE IN YOUR E-MAIL OR SUBJECT LINE.)
Are you a good thinker? Are you certain that the reasons you have for believing what you do are good ones? How can you tell? What sets you apart from those whom you might see as “bad” or “irrational” thinkers?
Certainly, all of us have different opinions on a wide variety of subjects, whether they have to do with moral and political problems (e.g. reproductive rights, gay marriage, the justification to go to war), religious questions, (e.g. “Only Jesus saves,” “There is no God”), aesthetic concerns (e.g. “That haircut looks horrible on you!”, “ Picasso is a great painter”), and general issues in our culture (e.g. “The First Amendment protects my right to burn the flag during war time,” “No one should eat meat,” or “Buy Crest: it’s better!”). These opinions are not just conveyed through personal contact, but also through books, political pamphlets, advertisements, lobbying, telemarketing, e-mails, radio and television broadcasts, movies, and video games. But whose opinions should we believe and why? Is it the case that every person’s opinion is just as good as another’s? Or is there a way of differentiating between good and bad opinions? What, if anything, might help us figure out which opinions to accept and which to disregard? How do we avoid being taken advantage of in our everyday lives?
Generally, good critical thinking requires that our beliefs be adequately supported by good evidence. Another way of putting this is to say that we ought ideally to base our convictions on facts, not hearsay, arguments and not irrational conjecture or feeling.
This course aims to develop our critical thinking skills and help us understand what it means to be a rational being in an increasingly complex and confusing world. We will look at the different--and sometimes confusing ways--we use language to think, reason, and communicate. We will learn various techniques to read and analyze English language texts, e.g. newspapers, letters to the editor, court decisions, etc. In particular, we will become more adept at identifying and critically evaluating different types of arguments (both deductive and inductive) which are often used to influence our numerous beliefs about the world. In addition, we will spend a good deal of time studying examples of bad reasoning (formal and informal fallacies) so that we might not only become more efficient at spotting other people's bad reasoning, but also so that we can begin to recognize (and overcome) our own. We will also gain a general understanding of the different ways in which reasoning is used in different fields of study, such as law, politics, and the various sciences.
Bassham et al. Critical Thinking: A Student’s Introduction. 5th Ed. McGraw Hill, 2012.
The 4th edition is also acceptable.
Other required texts will be assigned as handouts, webpages, etc.
Note: The Bassham text has a web-component which we will be using: http://highered.mcgraw-hill.com/sites/0073407437/information_center_view0/. (This is actually the fourth edition site, which is openly accessible.)
Some homework assignments will be accessible through this website.
STUDENT LEARNING OUTCOME
Students will be expected to apply these critical thinking skills in their writing and to construct a thesis offering evidence in support of their thesis in various writing assignments in this course.
PHILOS 101, INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHY
(1/3/2017 - 2/4/2017)
Dr. Andrew Jones-Cathcart
Although students should usually contact me through the
Canvas e-mail contained within the course, should problems
arise please contact me at email@example.com
"Men are born ignorant, not stupid. They are made stupid by
This course will introduce you to philosophical reasoning and the kinds of problems that have fascinated philosophers for well over 2500 years. These problems can be grasped most easily in the form of different questions which philosophers ask about the world and try to answer in a rational manner. Examples of these sorts of questions include:
These questions have proved to be difficult to resolve to any satisfactory degree in other disciplines, such as the natural sciences, mathematics, and social sciences, which you may have studied already or will study in the future. Nevertheless, these are the sorts of questions which human begins have always asked out of a sense of philosophic wonder or curiosity, and as long as human beings exist, there will be a need to go on looking for answers to questions such as these.
Philosophy is the rational search for a resolution to these questions, and in this class we shall look at a number of philosophical readings which attempt to resolve some of them. In particular, we shall concentrate on three major areas of philosophy: epistemology (which asks what knowledge is and how we know anything at all), metaphysics (which asks about the nature of reality), and ethics (which asks about the nature of morality).
The readings will be drawn from a variety of contemporary as well as historical sources. Although the bulk of the readings are from the Western philosophical canon, whenever possible, we shall point out similarities and differences between Western and Eastern traditions. Thinkers and historical periods in philosophy typically explored in this course include: ancient philosophy (Socrates and Plato), mediaeval philosophy (Anselm and Thomas Aquinas), modern philosophy (Descartes, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Paley, Holbach, Kant), late modern/nineteenth-century philosophy (Mill, Kierkegaard, and Nietzsche), and twentieth-century/contemporary philosophy (James, Stace, Russell, Taylor, Benedict, Rachels, Lamont, Moreland, Churchland, and Searle).
1. Robert Arp and Jamie Carlin Watson. Philosophy Demystified. McGraw-Hill, 2011. 978-0-07171766-3
2. Lavine, T.Z. From Socrates to Sartre. New York: Bantam Books, 1989. (ISBN = 0553251619)
Other readings will be accessible as online links.
Overall Student Learning Outcome
Evaluate (using rational argument) competing philosophical views in order to synthesize and justify their own philosophical viewpoints in relation to the philosophical questions that are being investigated.
INTRODUCTION TO COMPARATIVE RELIGION
1/3/2017 - 2/4/2017
This course introduces students to the study of comparative religion, which is an attempt to analyze, compare and contrast the key themes and ideas found in the religious traditions of different cultures, historical periods, and ethnic groups. Examples of these traditions include Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Zen, Shinto, Zoroastrianism, and the native traditions of Africa, Australasia, and the Americas. In addition to exploring the religious beliefs of these traditions, we will also study the philosophical implications and assumptions found within them.
Student Learning Objectives
At the conclusion of this course, students should be able to
1. Explain the origin, practices, worldview, and goals of each religion studied;
and contrast the different religions studied with regard to
historical development, view of God or the Divine, and how
each religion's view of what is ultimate about reality
informs its teachings, doctrines, and practices; and
Experiencing the World's Religions. 6th ed. McGraw-Hill,