| ||This course introduces the discipline of philosophy through examination of logical reasoning. Like many common activities, reasoning raises philosophical questions.
The course begins by reviewing the difference between valid and invalid deductive arguments.
The bulk of the course looks at examples of reasoning in the fields of practical reasoning and ethics, progressing to law, politics, and theology. Usually we analyze the reasoning in a recent United States Supreme Court opinion.
Some common themes emerge. In every field, reasoning cannot begin unless certain fundamental premises are accepted. How do philosophers approach the question of how to choose among competing interests and desires? Why is murder wrong? Can we prove any of the truths of Christianity from reason alone?
Towards the middle and end of the course, students will prepare papers analyzing instances of sophisticated reasoning chosen by the instructor.