Reason Like a Champion

Wed, Aug 12

Philosophy is defined, first and foremost, by it's commitment to rigorous, logical reasoning.  This is especially important when we wonder about questions that can't be determined through observation alone.  In this session, we'll master some basics of informal logic: detecting arguments, outlining them in premise/conclusion form, and evaluating them for validity, soundness and informativeness.  These skills will come up again and again as we read texts, engage in dialogues about contentious issues, and compose your Apology essay. 

By the end of lecture, you will:

  1. Understand the concepts of validity and soundness and be able to classify arguments based on these two dimensions.
  2. Be familiar with how to identify a reasoning structure in real-world scenarios (i.e. newspaper articles).
  3. Practice raising objections and improving arguments in light of them.


Read This:


Interactive Essay: Reason Like a Champion


How CrossFit Acts Like a Religion (The Atlantic)


Do This:

Complete these steps before you come to class

  1. Consider the following prompts (you may want to write responses to these in your journal or talk about them with a friend):
    1. The Atlantic article about CrossFit considers an argument with this general form.  Premise 1: [INSERT] features characterize a religion. Premise 2: CrossFit/adult summer camps/college campuses have these features.  C: CrossFit/adult summer camps/college should count as a religion.  Fill in the missing details in Premise 1, based on the article. Do you agree with this reasoning?  How might you object to Premise 1?
    2. If you had to come up with criteria for some activity counting as a "philosophical way of life" or a "religion", what criteria would you adopt?  Try to develop an argument in premise/conclusion form defending one of your criteria.
  2. Optional: test yourself by taking a practice comprehension check. Click on the link corresponding to your section below. When prompted, enter your name and NDID (this should be a 9-digit number).
    1. Sullivan - Section 01 - MW
    2. Blaschko - Section 02 - TR
    3. Blaschko -Section 03 - MW
    4. Blaschko - Section 04 - MW

Watch This: