Reason Like a Champion

Mon, Aug 30

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 contexts (e.g. news articles)
  3. Practice raising objections and improving arguments in light of them.


Read This:


Interactive Essay: Reason Like a Champion


We're Reopening Notre Dame: It's Worth the Risk (New York Times)


Do This:

Complete these steps before you come to class

  • Consider the following prompts (you may want to write responses to these in your journal or talk about them with a friend):
    • What, precisely, is Fr. Jenkins arguing for in this op-ed? What is his conclusion?
    • Try to pick out at least one reason Fr. Jenkins gives in support of this conclusion. How might someone argue against this point? 

After you've finished today's reading, feel free to take a practice quiz here:

Watch This: