Effective: Late Spring 8-Week, 2018/2019

PHIL 210: Logic And Critical Thinking

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  Course Description

Overview of the principles and methods of critical thinking, inductive reasoning and deductive logic. Emphasis on the formulation and evaluation of ordinary language arguments. G.E.

Prerequisite: None

Proctored Exams: Midterm and Final



  • Hurley, Patrick J. A Concise Introduction to Logic. 13th. Cengage Learning, 2018.  
    • ISBN-978-1-3375-4711-6
      • Note: You will need the textbook (physical or etext version) and an access code for MindTap (an online homework and resource site). You can purchase the eText bundled with MindTap access (ISBN: 9781305959651). If you buy the textbook from a source other than MBS Direct, you will still need to purchase a MindTap access code from MBS Direct. Access codes that come packaged with textbooks from sources other than MBS Direct are not guaranteed to work.

MBS Information

Textbooks for the course may be ordered from MBS Direct. You can order

For additional information about the bookstore, visit http://www.mbsbooks.com.

  Course Overview

This course will provide students with an introduction to the principles and methods of critical thinking, inductive reasoning, and deductive logic.  We will be learning how to formulate valid and strong arguments and how to avoid common mistakes in reasoning.

To this end, assignments will include quizzes, discussion posts, and the evaluation of, and writing of, short essays.  Students will complete midterm and final exams, both under supervision of a proctor.

  Technology Requirements

Participation in this course will require the basic technology for all online classes at Columbia College:
  • A computer with reliable Internet access
  • A web browser
  • Acrobat Reader
  • Microsoft Office or another word processor such as Open Office

You can find more details about standard technical requirements for our courses on our site. See MindTap's system requirements documentation for additional information on its system requirements and PC set up.


  Course Learning Outcomes

  1. Student formally evaluates arguments for validity.
  2. Student formulates valid arguments and valid argument forms.
  3. Student critically analyzes arguments and argument forms using deductive symbolic methods.


Grading Scale

Grade Points Percent
A 900-1000 90-100%
B 800-899 80-89%
C 700-799 70-79%
D 600-699 60-69%
F 0-599 0-59%

Grade Weights

Assignment Category Points Percent
Discussions (8) 200 20%
Essay Analysis 80 8%
MindTap Homework (8) 160 16%
Quizzes 160 16%
Midterm Exam (1) 200 20%
Final Exam (1) 200 20%
Total 1000 100%

  Schedule of Due Dates

Week 1

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 1 25 Thursday/Sunday
MindTap Homework 1 20 Sunday
Essay Analysis 1 40

Week 2

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 2 25 Thursday/Sunday
MindTap Homework 20 Sunday
Quiz 1 32
Proctor Information N/A

Week 3

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 3 25 Thursday/Sunday
MindTap Homework 3 20 Sunday
Quiz 2 32

Week 4

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 4 25 Thursday/Sunday
MindTap Homework 20 Sunday
Essay Analysis 2 40
Midterm Exam 200

Week 5

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 5 25 Thursday/Sunday
MindTap Homework 5 20 Sunday
Quiz 3 32

Week 6

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 6 25 Thursday/Sunday
MindTap Homework 6 20 Sunday
Quiz 4 32

Week 7

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 7 25 Thursday/Sunday
MindTap Homework 7 20 Sunday
Quiz 5 32

Week 8

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 8 25 Thursday/Saturday
MindTap Homework 8 20 Saturday
Final Exam 200
Total Points: 1000

  Assignment Overview


After introducing yourselves during week one, you will participate in weekly discussions boards. Initial posts are due by Thursday at 11:59 PM CT, to make sure there is time for adequate discussion of everyone’s posts. The ‘must post first’ rule applies: you must make your initial post prior to reading anyone else’s posts. These answers to questions should be substantive and complete, in your own words, with quotations held to a minimum.

In addition, at least two reply posts per week are required as a way to facilitate discussion. Responses are due by Sunday at 11:59 PM CT), although the earlier you do your reply posts, the more time for discussion there is. Reply posts should be substantive, indicating whether you agree or disagree with the posts you are replying to, and why. Or, you can provide additional information that is pertinent to the post you are replying to. You can also ask a question. When questions are asked, those of whom they are asked should plan to reply to them as part of their reply posts for the week. So if you ask a question, please make sure it is early enough to give time for a reply. The goal is to generate fruitful discussion for everyone’s benefit.

Please proofread your posts for the usual spelling, grammar, punctuation errors, etc. Your writing represents you, and you should take your presentation seriously.

Discussions are worth 25 points, for a total of 200 points for the entire course. You will get complete credit for the Discussion if you follow the above guidelines. Your initial post is worth 15 points, and your combined reply posts are worth another 10 points.. I reserve the right to lower point grades for incomplete posts, badly written posts, or irrelevant posts. You do not have to understand everything in order to get full credit for your initial post; its purpose is to show what you’ve been able to understand on your own; the purpose of the discussion is to remedy any deficiencies.

While partial credit may be given for late initial posts, posts will not be accepted after the discussion is over at the end of each week, except under extraordinary circumstances.

MindTap Homework

MindTap Homework assignments are exercises found in MindTap, the online component for the Hurley text. Each is a series of problems worth a total of 20 points. They are due by 11:59 PM CT Sundays. These are automatically graded and you will see your grades for these in MindTap immediately after completion. Grades will be transferred into your D2L gradebook weekly.

Essay Analysis

There are two Essay Analyses assignments that require you to read an assigned article and summarize and comment on it with a 2-3 page written essay. You may use APA, MLA, or Chicago style format for the essays. Each is worth 40 points and due on Sunday of the assigned week by 11:59 PM CT. Essays are graded on completeness, clarity, and logical rigor. 


There are five open-book quizzes, completed in D2L, worth 32 points each. Quizzes consist of a combination of multiple choice, short answer, or essay questions on textbook readings. They are due by 11:59 PM CT Sunday of the assigned week (2,3,5,6, and 7).

Midterm Exam

The Midterm exam will consist of multiple-choice, true/false, and brief essay questions, and covers material from weeks 1 through 4.  The exam must be completed by Sunday at 11:59 PM CT of Week 4. You will take this exam within the D2L environment; you will have 120 minutes. This is a closed-book exam and must be taken under supervision of a proctor. It is is worth 200 points. After taking the exam, you will be able to see which questions you answered incorrectly.

Final Exam

The Final Exam will consist of multiple-choice, true/false, and brief essay questions, and covers material from Weeks 5 through 8.  The exam must be completed by Saturday at 11:59 PM CT of Week 8. You will take this exam within the D2L environment; you will have 120 minutes. This is a closed-book exam and must be taken under supervision of a proctor. It is worth 200 points. After taking the exam, you will be able to see which questions you answered incorrectly.

  Course Outline

Click on each week to view details about the activities scheduled for that week.

  • Chapter 1, sections 1.1, 1.3, 1.4
  • Chapter 2, sections 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4
  • Luciano Floridi, “Why Information Matters” The New Atlantis, Winter, 2017 (link provided in course)
  • Instructional Materials
Discussion 1
First, provide a brief personal introduction. Then, respond to the following:
One of the consequences of the basic logical laws of bivalence, non-contradiction, and excluded middle, is that each and every statement in a language must be either true or false, regardless of whether we know which of these it is or not. How does this consequence apply to statements of fact? To statements of opinion? To controversial matters such as the morality of abortion or the existence of God?
MindTap Homework 1

Complete the MindTap Homework exercise set 1.

Essay Analysis 1
This essay will be a response to the assigned Floridi article. See the course's Essay 1 Dropbox for details.
  • Chapter 3, sections 3.2, 3.3, 3.4
  • Instructional Materials
Discussion 2

Pick one fallacy from each of the three groups, as specified in the Hurley-Watson text (3.2 Fallacies of Relevance; 3.3, Fallacies of Weak Induction; 3.4 Fallacies of Presumption, Ambiguity, and Illicit Transference), that you regard as especially important and give an example of it in your own words.  Why is each of these a significant fallacy and in what contexts would you be likely to come across it?  How do such fallacies undermine logical/critical thinking?

MindTap Homework

Complete the MindTap Homework exercise set 2.

Quiz 1

This Quiz covers text material assigned in chapters 1-3.

Proctor Information
Submit your proctor form to the appropriate Dropbox folder by the end of the week. Remember to “Save” the form before placing it in Dropbox. See the Content area for more information.
  • Chapter 9, sections 9.1-9.3
  • Chapter 10, sections 10.1-10.3
  • Chapter 12, sections  12.1-12.3  & 12.6
  • Instructional Materials
Discussion 3

Respond to each of the following questions:

  1. William Paley’s design argument from Natural Theology is one of the most famous arguments from analogy ever devised.  Evaluate its strength, both on its own terms and in view of the subsequent evidence introduced into the discussion by Darwin’s evolutionary theory (see Instructor’s Weekly Lecture).  
  2. David Hume’s critique of cause/effect reasoning and observations on the circularity of the justification for induction constitute an important challenge to inductive reasoning.  Describe as thoroughly as you can in your own words how he sees these problems.  Do you agree or disagree that we are ‘skating on thin ice’ here?  Why or why not?  
  3. The use of stare decisis in Roe v. Wade and J. J. Thomson’s analogical thought experiments concerning abortion as a legal/moral issue (see instructor’s weekly lecture) show the practical import of analogical reasoning in both legal and moral contexts.  Analyze the strengths and any weaknesses of the presented arguments and be sure to defend your position.
MindTap Homework 3

Complete the MindTap Homework exercise set 3.

Quiz 2

The quiz covers text material assigned in chapters 9, 10, and 12.

  • Chapters 13 and 14
  • Instructional Materials
  • Karl Popper, excerpt from The Logic of Scientific Discovery (See the Week 4 Content area of the course)
Discussion 4

Is the lack of deductive necessity a strength or a weakness for a scientific theory?  Why?  When the phrase, “just a theory” is used to describe science, is it accurate?  Why or why not? How can we distinguish between science and non-science?

MindTap Homework

Complete this MindTap Homework exercise set 4.

Essay Analysis 2

This essay will be on Karl Popper's article. See its respective Dropbox for instructions.

Midterm Exam

The Midterm exam will consist of multiple-choice, true/false, and brief essay questions, and covers material from weeks 1 through 4, including your text, assigned articles, and lecture material. The exam must be completed by Sunday at 11:59 PM CST of Week 4. This is a proctored exam done on the D2L system and is timed at 120 minutes. This is a closed-book exam. It is is worth 200 points. After taking the exam, you will be able to see which questions you answered incorrectly.

  • Chapter 4, sections 4.1-4.6
  • Chapter 5, sections 5.1-5.3
  • Instructional Materials
Discussion 5

What is ‘existential import’ and how does it distinguish between the traditional (Aristotelian) and modern (Boolean) squares of opposition?  Do you see any advantages of one over the other?  If so, what are they?

MindTap Homework 5

Complete the MindTap Homework exercise set 5.

Quiz 3

This quiz covers material covered in the assigned sections of chapters 4 and 5 this week.

  • Chapter 6
  • Instructional Materials
Discussion 6
Describe in your own words the meaning of ‘truth-functionality,'’ logical equivalence,' ‘logical contradiction,’ ‘logical consistency,’ and ‘logical inconsistency.’
MindTap Homework 6

Complete the MindTap Homework exercise set 6.

Quiz 4

This quiz covers chapter 6.

  • Chapter 7, sections 7.1-7.4
  • Instructional Materials
Discussion 7

Do you find the method of ‘natural deduction’ more ‘natural’ than truth tables in demonstrating validity?  Why or why not?  Do you agree with Hurley that natural deduction "resembles the ordinary step-by-step reasoning process people use in daily life"?  Why or why not?

MindTap Homework 7
Complete the MindTap Homework exercise set 7.
Quiz 5

This quiz covers material in the assigned sections of chapter 7. 

  • Chapter 8, sections 8.1-8.3
  • Instructional Materials
  • Quine, W. V.  (1948). On What There Is. Review of Metaphysics, 1-11 (see the week's Instructional Materials topic for link to article)
Discussion 8

Discuss your reaction to the assigned Quine essay.  Make sure that you include a description of what you take to be the disagreement between McX and Wyman over how to handle questions regarding reference to ‘non-existing’ entities.  How does Quine use Russell’s Theory of Descriptions to propose a solution to this issue?  What is Quine’s ultimate position on this question?  Do you think that this is a good solution to the problem?  If so, why; if not, why not?

MindTap Homework 8
Complete the MindTap Homework exercise set 8.
Final Exam
The Final Exam will consist of multiple-choice, true/false, and brief essay questions, and covers material from Weeks 5 through 8. Material includes assigned textbook material, additional readings, and lectures. The exam must be completed by Saturday at 11:59 PM CT of Week 8. This is a proctored exam and is timed at 120 minutes. This is a closed-book exam. It is is worth 200 points. After taking the exam, you will be able to see which questions you answered incorrectly.

  Course Policies

Student Conduct

All Columbia College students, whether enrolled in a land-based or online course, are responsible for behaving in a manner consistent with Columbia College's Student Conduct Code and Acceptable Use Policy. Students violating these policies will be referred to the office of Student Affairs and/or the office of Academic Affairs for possible disciplinary action. The Student Code of Conduct and the Computer Use Policy for students can be found in the Columbia College Student Handbook. The Handbook is available online; you can also obtain a copy by calling the Student Affairs office (Campus Life) at 573-875-7400. The teacher maintains the right to manage a positive learning environment, and all students must adhere to the conventions of online etiquette.


Your grade will be based in large part on the originality of your ideas and your written presentation of these ideas. Presenting the words, ideas, or expression of another in any form as your own is plagiarism. Students who fail to properly give credit for information contained in their written work (papers, journals, exams, etc.) are violating the intellectual property rights of the original author. For proper citation of the original authors, you should reference the appropriate publication manual for your degree program or course (APA, MLA, etc.). Violations are taken seriously in higher education and may result in a failing grade on the assignment, a grade of "F" for the course, or dismissal from the College.

Collaboration conducted between students without prior permission from the instructor is considered plagiarism and will be treated as such. Spouses and roommates taking the same course should be particularly careful.

All required papers may be submitted for textual similarity review to Turnitin.com for the detection of plagiarism. All submitted papers may be included in the Turnitin.com reference database for the purpose of detecting plagiarism. This service is subject to the Terms and Conditions of Use posted on the Turnitin.com site.


There will be no discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, ideology, political affiliation, veteran status, age, physical handicap, or marital status.

Student Accessibility Resources

Students with documented disabilities who may need academic services for this course are required to register with the office of Student Accessibility Resources. Until the student has been cleared through this office, accommodations do not have to be granted. If you are a student who has a documented disability, it is important for you to read the entire syllabus as soon as possible. The structure or the content of the course may make an accommodation not feasible. Student Accessibility Resources is located in Student Affairs in AHSC 215 and can be reached by phone at (573) 875-7626 or email at sar@ccis.edu.

Online Participation

You are expected to read the assigned texts and participate in the discussions and other course activities each week. Assignments should be posted by the due dates stated on the grading schedule in your syllabus. If an emergency arises that prevents you from participating in class, please let your instructor know as soon as possible.

Attendance Policy

Attendance for a week will be counted as having submitted any assigned activity for which points are earned. Attendance for the week is based upon the date work is submitted. A class week is defined as the period of time between Monday and Sunday (except for week 8, when the work and the course will end on Saturday at midnight.) The course and system deadlines are based on the Central Time Zone.

Cougar Email

All students are provided a CougarMail account when they enroll in classes at Columbia College. You are responsible for monitoring email from that account for important messages from the College and from your instructor. You may forward your Cougar email account to another account; however, the College cannot be held responsible for breaches in security or service interruptions with other email providers.

Students should use email for private messages to the instructor and other students. The class discussions are for public messages so the class members can each see what others have to say about any given topic and respond.

Late Assignment Policy

An online class requires regular participation and a commitment to your instructor and your classmates to regularly engage in the reading, discussion and writing assignments. Although most of the online communication for this course is asynchronous, you must be able to commit to the schedule of work for the class for the next eight weeks. You must keep up with the schedule of reading and writing to successfully complete the class.

No late discussion posts will be accepted.

Other assignments may only be submitted late if prior permission is obtained from the instructor.

Course Evaluation

You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link will be sent to your CougarMail that will allow you to access the evaluation. Be assured that the evaluations are anonymous and that your instructor will not be able to see them until after final grades are submitted.

Proctor Policy

Students taking courses that require proctored exams must submit their completed proctor request forms to their instructors by the end of the second week of the session. Proctors located at Columbia College campuses are automatically approved. The use of ProctorU services is also automatically approved. The instructor of each course will consider any other choice of proctor for approval or denial. Additional proctor choices the instructor will consider include: public librarians, high school or college instructors, high school or college counseling services, commanding officers, education service officers, and other proctoring services. Personal friends, family members, athletic coaches and direct supervisors are not acceptable.

  Additional Resources

Orientation for New Students

This course is offered online, using course management software provided by Desire2Learn and Columbia College. The course user guide provides details about taking an online course at Columbia College. You may also want to visit the course demonstration to view a sample course before this one opens.

Technical Support

If you have problems accessing the course or posting your assignments, contact your instructor, the Columbia College Helpdesk, or the D2L Helpdesk for assistance. Contact information is also available within the online course environment.

Online Tutoring

Smarthinking is a free online tutoring service available to all Columbia College students. Smarthinking provides real-time online tutoring and homework help for Math, English, and Writing. Smarthinking also provides access to live tutorials in writing and math, as well as a full range of study resources, including writing manuals, sample problems, and study skills manuals. You can access the service from wherever you have a connection to the Internet. I encourage you to take advantage of this free service provided by the college.

Access Smarthinking through CougarTrack under Students -> Academics -> Academic Resources.