PHL 320 Critical Thinking

PHL 320U

Critical Thinking

Dr. Jeff Johnson

Distance Delivery

PHIL 320U is a course on evidence evaluation. We will be exploring the practical and theoretical applications of a particular model of good evidence  ‐‐  inference to the best explanation, in practical, scientific, literary, and even theological contexts. I intend the skills developed in this course to be of value, not only in other Philosophy courses, but in your general academic and professional lives, as well.

Required Texts:

  • Inferring and Explaining by Jeffery Johnson (on-line)
  • Other on-line material (links provided in D2L)

Learning Outcomes:

  • Mastery of inference to the best explanation
  • Knowledge of Semmelweis’s discovery of the cause of childbed fever
  • Knowledge of Darwin’s theory of common descent
  • Knowledge of Darwin’s theory of natural selection
  • Knowledge of philosophical discussions of mystical experiences
  • Knowledge of the constitutional issues regarding the death penalty

Means of Assessment and Grading

  • Nine weekly quizzes (top eight used in final grade calculation) (10% each of course grade)
  • Analytical paper (20% of course grade)

TENTATIVE CALENDAR

WEEK ONE — Valuing Truth

  • Johnson — Chapter One
  • Johnson — Chapter Two

Quiz One due 10/4/17

WEEK TWO — Skepticism and the Nature of Knowledge

  • Johnson — Chapter Three
  • Johnson — Chapter Four

Quiz Two due 10/11/17

WEEK THREE – Schematizing arguments

  • Reading – Johnson – Chapter Five

Quiz Three due 10/18/17

WEEK FOUR – Inference to the best explanation & Problems and questions

  • Reading – Johnson – Chapter Five
  • Reading – Johnson – Chapter Six

Quiz Four due 10/25/17

WEEK FIVE – New data and experimentation & Semmelweis

  • Reading – Johnson – Chapter Seven
  • Reading — Johnson – Chapter Eight

Quiz Five due 11/1/17

WEEK SIX – Darwin’s theories of common descent and natural selection

  • Reading – Johnson – Chapter Nine

Quiz Six due 11/8/17

WEEK SEVEN — Testimony & Textual interpretation

  • Reading – Johnson – Chapter Ten
  • Reading – Johnson – Chapter Eleven

Quiz Seven due 11/15/17

WEEK EIGHT – Capital Punishment and the Constitution & Statistics

  • Reading – Johnson – Chapter Twelve
  • Reading – Johnson – Chapter Thirteen

Quiz Eight due 11/22/17

WEEK NINE – Causal Explanation

  • Reading – Johnson – Chapter Fourteen

Practice Quizzes — Not graded!

WEEK TEN – Explanations and Narratives

  • Reading – Johnson – Chapter Fifteen

Quiz Nine due 12/6/17

Analytical Paper due 12/6/17