Reason Like a Champion

Wed, Sep 04

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, construct debate cases, and compose your Apology essay.  By the end of lecture:

  1. You will understand the concepts of validity and soundness and be able to classify arguments based on these two dimensions.
  2. You will be able to identify a reasoning structure in real-world scenarios (i.e. newspaper articles).
  3. You'll appreciate the distinction between criticizing premises and criticizing a reasoning process.

As usual, complete the reflection questions below before you come to class.

Read This:


Interactive Essay: Reason Like a Champion


Slavery reparations hearing ignites fiery debate in Congress (BBC News)


Do This:

Reflection questions (Complete in Journal before class):

  1. Craft an argument for or against reparations for slavery. First state the argument in your own words, then identify your premises and conclusion.  Try to do this in premise-conclusion form.
  2. Is your argument valid? Is it sound? Explain why you think so.

Watch This: