This course introduces the discipline of philosophy through examination of logical reasoning. Like many common activities, reasoning raises philosophical questions. The course begins by discussing the difference between valid and invalid deductive arguments as reflected in elementary logic. 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? What is distinctive about scientific reasoning? Why is murder wrong? What premises and forms of argument are used in legal reasoning? Can we discern theological reasoning in the books of the Bible? Towards the middle and end of the course, students will prepare papers analyzing instances of sophisticated reasoning chosen by the instructor.
Course Website: Reasoning
Instructor: Karl Oles
Starts: September 5, 2023
Ends: June 1, 2024
Friday 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM ET
The course is intended for high school students who have some familiarity with formal logic and who have encountered arguments about topics such as global warming, health care, pacifism, the good life, and the nature of God. The focus of the course is on finding common elements in reasoning in various fields, learning skills necessary to analyze arguments, and discerning philosophical questions that arise from the subject matter.
Prior encounter with formal logic (or playing the game Wff 'n Proof) is helpful, as is prior experience with debates over public policy issues, ethics and religion.
The course materials will be provided by the instructor.
Textbooks and MaterialsThere are no textbook or materials currently required for this course. Check instructor's notes above for additional information, or contact the instructor.
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