Phil 141: Critical Thinking

Fall 2020

Instructor: Ted Parent,


Schedule of Readings

WEEK 1: Introduction and Cognitive Biases
    Buddha, the Kalama
    Peter Graham, What You Can't Say
    Handout: Pessimism about Argument
    Video: Ruth Chang's TED talk on Hard Choices
        Optional: Video:, Developing Wisdom
        Optional: Handout: Decision Theory Primer

    Lewis Vaughn, Reasons for Doubt
Handout: Cognitive Biases
    Videos: Laurie Santos on Cognitive Biases

    Handout: What is the Ideal Setting for Inquiry?

WEEK 2-4: The Five Types of Argument
    Handout: Five Types of Argument
    Handout: Premise and Conclusion Indicators
    Handout: Criticizing the Five Types of Argument

WEEK 5-7: Informal Fallacies
    Handout: Informal Fallacies: Pseudo-Deductions
    Handout: Fallacies of Unwarranted Premises
    Handout: Devious Rhetoric
    Dan Dennett, excerpts from ch. 2 of Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking
Lewis Vaughn, Experts and Evidence
    Handout: Are Emotions Relevant?

WEEK 8 and 9: Symbolism and Argument Forms
    Bergmann et al., The Logic Book, chapter 2 (excerpt)
    Video: Crash Course in Formal Logic: Propositional Logic
    Handout: Necessary versus Sufficient Conditions
    Howard-Snyder et al., The Power of Logic, chapter 1 (excerpts)

    Handout on Famous Forms
    Handout on Formal Fallacies

WEEK 10-12: Scientific Thinking
    Forseman et al., excerpts from ch. 6 of The Critical Thinking Toolkit
Forseman et al., excerpts from ch. 9 of The Critical Thinking Toolkit
Forseman et al., more excerpts from ch. 9
    Handout: Are You Prone to the Base-Rate Fallacy?
    Handout: What Makes for a Good Scientific Theory?
    Handout: The Bradford Hill Criteria
        Optional: Susan Haack, Correlation and Causation: The Bradford Hill Criteria

    Brian Earp, Mental Shortcuts

    Gorski & Novella, Clinical Trials of Integrative Medicine
    Rosa et al., A Close Look at Therapeutic Touch
    Handout: Remarks on Scientism
WEEK 13-14: Dialectical Method
    Plato, Crito
    Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from a Birmingham City Ja
il (excerpt)
        Optional: Handout: Historical Background to MLK's letter
Michael Huemer, Why People are Irrational about Politics
    Optional: Russ Shafer-Landau, Ethical Subjectivism (excerpt)
    Jay Rosenberg, excerpts from chs. 5 and 6 of The Practice of Philosophy

    Handout: Writing Advice
WEEK 15: Critique as a Way of Life
    Baggini & Fosl, Signs and Signifiers, Foucaultian Critique of Power
    Forseman et al., Meta-Narratives and other excerpts from ch. 10 of The Critical Thinking Toolkit

Updated: 20 April 2021