SYLLABUS: PHILOSOPHY 110
PRACTICAL REASONING 

Fall 2007 
Theodore Gracyk 

OFFICE: BRIDGES 359B    Phone: 477-4089 
Office Hours: MWF, 9-10:25 am, 1:30-3:30 pm, and by appointment
For email link, click here

This class meets MWF 12:30 pm in BR 357

Description: Practical skills in the analysis and construction of written arguments. Everyday sources are scrutinized for their evidential support of claims made (e.g., editorials, newspaper articles, advertisements.) Special attention is directed at longer arguments that defend or criticize multiculturalism. Grading is based on exams and quizzes. Except for the final exam, the exams are take-home and open book, open notes. Quizzes are in class; they are very short and focused, with no use of books or notes. The course counts for 3 credits of Liberal Studies Division E and Dragon Core Area 2.

Required Texts: Bring the book to class every day. 

  • V. R. Ruggiero: Beyond Feelings: A Guide to Critical Thinking (8th ed.)
  • Eleanor Stanford (editor), Interracial America: Opposing Viewpoints  

Course goals for Dragon Core Area 2: 

  • Recognize and define the questions upon which a controversy depends. 
  • Distinguish arguments from non-arguments.
  • Identify the implicit assumptions and practical implications of multiple perspectives so that arguments can be analyzed within their historic and cultural contexts. 
  • Distinguish between fallacious and non-fallacious arguments. 
  • Recognize stereotypes and critically assess cultural images. 
  • Distinguish between and use inductive and deductive reasoning. 
  • Formulate clearly and precisely a question or problem and generate alternative hypotheses or solutions to this problem, including solutions appropriate to the cultural context of the problem. 
  • Construct sound or cogent arguments of their own supported by data that are clear, accurate, and relevant. 
  • Credit properly ideas developed by others.

Grading:  Possible point total: 200 points 

First take-home exam: 40 points
Second take-home exam: 40 points
Third take-home exam: 40 points
Final exam: 40 points
Five quizzes (8 points each): 40 points  

Late work will not receive credit without prior authorization.  There is no "make-up" work if you miss something unless you have an official university activity creating a time conflict. So if you are not going to submit something when it is due, it is your responsibility to talk to me before it is due and to work out alternative arrangements, such as an extension on a due date.

Your final letter grade is determined on a percentile basis of points earned out of the total points possible. "Plus" and "minus" grades are assigned to students at the high and low ends of these point ranges. 

175 or more points: A range 
155-174 points: B range 
128-154 points: C range 
120-127 points: D range 
Below 120 points: F 

Notice that you can submit as much work as you wish (or don't wish, as the case may be!), depending on the grade that satisfies you. Your grade for the course is computed on points, not on attendance or trying hard or whatever. Notice that it is not possible to get an A (175 points) if you miss more than three quizzes. Yet it is possible to get a C or B while skipping entire exams, etc. But I advise you to submit all the assigned work.

Grades are not posted. If you'd like me to send your final grade to you, email me with a request that I email your grade when it is computed. 
(for email link, click here)

In my experience, attendance decides your course grade.  We will spend a lot of time in the classroom practicing the skills that are tested on the exams. 


Notice of disability services 

Minnesota State University Moorhead is committed to a policy of equal opportunity in education and employment and welcomes students with disabilities. We are prepared to offer you a range of services to accommodate your needs.

However, students must accept responsibility for initiating the request for services. 

This can only be done by contacting Greg Toutges, Coordinator of Disability Services
477-5859 (Voice) or 1-800-627-3529 (MRS/TTY), CMU 114

Do not try to explain your disability accommodations to me, your instructor. Talk to Greg and he will contact me.  


SCHEDULE  

Read the following assignments before coming to class on the specified day:  

Wednesday, Aug. 29 Ruggiero, Chapter 2
Friday, Aug. 31 Ruggiero, Chapter 6
Monday, Sept. 3 Holiday -- no class
Wednesday, Sept. 5 Michie essay (p. 51 of Interracial America)
Flores essay (p. 111 of Interracial America)
Friday, Sept. 7 Guillermo essay (p. 26 of Interracial America)
Monday, Sept. 10 Ruggiero, Chapter 7
Monday, Sept. 17 Connerly essay (p. 20 of Interracial America)
Guillermo essay (p. 26 of Interracial America)
Wednesday, Sept. 19 Thomas essay (p. 116 of Interracial America)
Essay (no author) on p. 85 of Interracial America 
Monday, Oct. 1 Ruggiero, Chapter 8
Brown essay (p. 31 of Interracial America)
Wednesday, Oct. 3 Ruggiero, Chapter 9
Wednesday, Oct. 10 Ruggiero, Chapter 10
Monday, Oct. 15 No class (midterm break) 
Wednesday, Oct. 17 Kimball essay (p. 44 of Interracial America)
Monday, Oct. 22 Ruggiero, Chapter 11
Wednesday, Oct.24 Wu essay (p. 37 of Interracial America)
Monday, Oct. 29 Ruggiero, Chapter 12
Wednesday, Nov. 14  Tatum essay (p. 65 of Interracial America)
Friday, Nov. 16 Huntington essay (p. 90 of Interracial America)
Monday, Nov. 19 Chang essay (p. 123 of Interracial America)
Wednesday, Nov. 21 Fall Break -- No class 
Friday, Nov. 23 Fall Break -- No class 
Monday, Nov. 26 Wood essay (p. 130 of Interracial America)
Wednesday, Nov. 28 Polyne essay (p. 137 of Interracial America)
Friday, Nov. 30 Michaels essay (p. 144 of Interracial America)
Monday, Dec. 3 Ruggiero, Chapter 16
Wednesday, Dec. 12 Study Day -- No class
Tuesday, December 18 Final Exam at Noon

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Last Updated Aug. 17, 2007