Course Schedule

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All assignments and readings should be done prior to the class time listed unless otherwise noted. We will go through the readings in class, but most of class time will be devoted to putting the concepts to work and practicing the skills. Class time is thus going to be more like a workshop and less like a lecture, so doing the readings ahead of time will enable you to keep up.

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Do your best to understand the readings before class and try to answer the reading questions I’ve listed for each day. Takes notes as you go, highlight or underline key passages and concepts, make note of places you find confusing or compelling. Be sure to bring any questions or concerns to class. There’s a pretty decent chance that someone else will have similar questions or confusions, so don’t be shy in bringing them up.

Aug. 26 Introduction
What is philosophy? What is critical thinking?

Approaches to Argument

Aug. 28 “The Toulmin Model” pp. 22-34
What is a claim? What is support? What is a warrant? What is a syllogism? How is the Toulmin model organized? How does it differ from a syllogism?

Aug. 30 “The Toulmin Model” cont’d.
In lieu of a quiz this week, students have until 9/4 to introduce themselves to me in office hours, after class, or by appointment and must access the course website.

Sep. 2 Labor Day, No Class

Sep. 4 “Critical Reading” pp. 35-49
What are the steps of prereading? What are the steps and some of the strategies of comprehension? Why is being able to summarize a position so important?

Sep. 6 “Critical Reading” pp. 50-60
What does evaluation entail? How does it build on the other steps of critical reading? What are the strategies of critical listening? Do they differ from those of critical reading?

Sep. 9 “Reading a Visual Argument” pp. 62-75
How do we “read” a visual argument? Is a visual argument the same as a written or oral argument? How do we evaluate visual arguments?

Analytical Writing

Sep. 11 “Writing the Claim”, “Enabling Ignorance”, “Planning the Structure”, “Using Sentence Forms” pp. 76-85
How do claims of fact and claims of value differ? What patterns might an essay follow? What sorts of sentence structures can be used to construct an argument?

Sep. 13 “Providing Support”, “Documenting Your Sources”, “Avoiding Plagiarism” pp. 85-93. Also read an essay of your choice from pp. 93-126
What are the different modes of providing support? Are they equally effective? Why is it important to document sources? What counts as plagiarism?

Analyzing the Elements

Sep. 16 “Definition” pp. 131-145. Also read an essay of your choice from pp. 145-66.
What is a definition? Why is it important to define your terms? What are the methods of defining terms? How does a definition essay differ from an argumentative essay?

Sep. 18 “Claims” pp. 170-83. Also read an essay of your choice from pp. 184-99.
What is a claim? What is a claim of fact? Of value? Of policy? How do we evaluate claims?

Sep. 20 “Support” pp. 202-33. Also read an essay of your choice from pp. 234-68.
What types of support are there? What forms do opinions or interpretations of fact take? How is evidence evaluated? Why might you appeal to needs or values? How are those appeals evaluated?

Sep. 23 Nel Noddings, “An Ethic of Caring”, on Blackboard
What forms of support does Noddings employ? Why does she object to some other standards of support? What are her objections?

Sep. 25 “Warrants” pp. 269-84. Also read an essay of your choice from pp. 284-96.
What are warrants? Why do we need to consider warrants or assumptions? How do warrants connect to claims and support? What types of warrants are there?
Peer writing workshop

Sep. 27 “Warrants”, cont’d.
Paper 1 Due

Sep. 30 Charles S. Peirce, “The Fixation of Belief”, on Blackboard
What is the goal of inquiry? How does the scientific method proceed? What objections does Peirce have? What does he propose instead? How does he define belief? What role does doubt play?

Oct. 2 “Language” pp. 339-72. Also read an essay of your choice from pp. 373-91.
How does language influence argument? What is connotation? Slanting? What is picturesque language? What is the difference between concrete and abstract language? What role does definition play? What are short cuts?

Oct. 4 “Language”, cont’d.; Martin Luther King Jr. “Letter from Birmingham Jail”, pp. 811-24.
How does King employ language? What sorts of metaphors does he use? What definitions does he employ?

Oct. 7 Blackboard Assignment

Oct. 9 “The Argumentative Paper: Planning and Research” pp. 393-436
What are the strategies of evaluating possible topics? What are some research strategies? What are the methods of documenting your research?

Oct. 11 Lois Pineau, “Date Rape: A Feminist Analysis”

Oct. 14 Blackboard Assignment
Group Project Work – the report form must be submitted to me via email by 10 p.m. today

Oct. 16 “The Argumentative Paper: Planning and Research”, cont’d.

Oct. 18 Fall Break, no class

Oct. 21 “The Argumentative Paper: Writing and Documentation” pp. 439-63
What are some modes of organizing your research? How do you anticipate and respond to counterarguments? What are the guidelines of good writing?

Oct. 23 “The Argumentative Paper: Writing and Documentation”, cont’d.
Peer Writing Workshop

Oct. 25 Blackboard Assignment
Paper 2 Due

Oct. 28 “Induction”, Blackboard Assignment
What is a fallacy? What is induction? How are inductive arguments evaluated?

Oct. 30 “Deduction” pp. 301-8
How does deduction differ from induction? What is a major premise? What is a minor premise? What is validity?

Nov. 1 “Deduction”, cont’d.

Nov. 4 “Common Fallacies” pp. 308-26
What are the different common fallacies? Why are they fallacies?

Nov. 6 “Common Fallacies”, cont’d.

Presenting Arguments

Nov. 8 “Oral Arguments” pp. 478-95
How is credibility established? What are some methods of organization? What role does language play? How does an oral presentation differ from a written work?

Nov. 11 Group work day

Nov. 13 Selection from “Multiple Viewpoints”

Nov. 15 Selection from “Multiple Viewpoints”

Nov. 18 Debate

Nov. 20 Research Presentation 1

Nov. 22 Research Presentation 2

Nov. 25 Blackboard Assignment

Nov. 27 Blackboard Assignment

Nov. 29 Thanksgiving Break, no class

Dec. 2 Research Presentation 3

Dec. 4 Research Presentation 4

Dec. 6 Research Presentation 5

*Changes may need to be made to the course schedule. I will always e-mail you the changes and announce them in class. The course schedule on the website will always be up to date, so it is your responsibility to follow along with any changes.