Introduction to Reasoning

Karl F. Oles
for Scholars Online
2013-2014: Fridays, 12:00-1:00pm Eastern Time


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Schedule of reading and discussion assignments (listed by week)


WeekTopicHomework
Week 1Introductions; course outline; review of formal logic.Simple logic review exercises.
Week 2Common fallacies.Evaluating fallacious arguments.
Week 3Introduction to practical reasoning; simplified logical form and enthymemes.Completing enthymemes.
Week 4Premises for practical reasoning; interests and commitments.Evaluating and ranking interests and commitments.
Week 5Additional premises for practical reasoning; authority.Prepare for "you should recycle."
Week 6Arguing "you should recycle."Short essay.
Week 7Introduction to scientific reasoning; the mediaeval view of motions and forces.Do youhave to keep pushing to make something move?
Week 8Early modern science on motions and forces; Copernicus.Does the earth move?
Week 9Early modern science; Galileo and Newton.Review handout on experiments with air pressure.
Week 10Science wrap-up; asking the right questions; choosing what not to explain.Read handout on sources of legal authority.
Week 11Introduce recent Supreme Court opinion.Outline Supreme Court majority opinion.
Week 12Discuss majority opinion.Outline dissenting opinion.
Week 13Discuss dissenting opinion.Short essay: evaluate majority vs. dissenting opinion.
Week 14Legal reasoning wrap-up.List ten moral truths.
Week 15Introduction to moral reasoning; moral data.Distinguising rights, duties, character traits, values, situations.
Week 16Is there a unifying theory of morals?Short essay.
Week 17Review short essays.Prepare to interview the villager.
Week 18Interviewing the villager.Review handout on contemporary moral issue.
Week 19Discuss contemporary moral issue.Outline argument in Declaration of Independence.
Week 20Introduction to theological reasoning.Reading from the Book of Genesis.
Week 21Theological reasoning continued.Reading from the Psalms.
Week 22Theological reasoning continued.Review handout on the Trinity.
Week 23Theological reasoning concluded.Write proposal for final paper.
Week 24Discuss proposed final paper topics.Outline final paper.
Week 25Discuss progress on final papers.First draft of final paper.
Week 26Course wrap-up; discuss progress on final papers.Final paper due.