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PHIL102: Logic and Critical Thinking

Unit 1: Introduction and Meaning Analysis   Critical thinking is a broad classification for a diverse array of reasoning techniques.  In general, critical thinking works by breaking arguments and claims down to their basic underlying structure, so we can see them clearly and determine whether they are rational.  The idea is to help us do a better job of understanding and evaluating what we read, what we hear, and what we ourselves write and say.  

In this unit, we will define the broad contours of critical thinking and learn why it is a valuable and useful object of study.  We will also introduce the fundamentals of meaning analysis: the difference between literal meaning and implication, the principles of definition, how to identify when a disagreement is merely verbal, the distinction between necessary and sufficient conditions, and problems with the imprecision of ordinary language.

Unit 1 Time Advisory
This unit should take approximately 13.75 hours. ☐    Subunit 1.1: 1.25 hours

☐    Subunit 1.2: 7 hours

☐    Subunit 1.2.1: 3 hours

☐    Subunit 1.2.2: 0.5 hours

☐    Subunit 1.2.3: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 1.2.4: 1.5 hours

☐    Subunit 1.3: 5.5 hours

☐    Subunit 1.3.1: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 1.3.2: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 1.3.3: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 1.3.4: 0.5 hours

Unit1 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, you will be able to: - define the notion of literal meaning; - distinguish between the literal meaning of sentences and their conversational implicature; - describe and apply several types of definitions: reportive, stipulative, precising, and persuasive; - identify and illustrate criteria for evaluating definitions; - contrast factual disputes and verbal disputes; - define and illustrate the notions of necessary condition and sufficient condition; - determine whether a condition is necessary or sufficient; - contrast and illustrate several kinds of obscurity: lexical ambiguity, referential ambiguity, syntactic ambiguity, vagueness, incomplete, and meaning; - contrast and illustrate several ways to distort meaning: reification, category mistake, and poor philosophical argumentation; - define and illustrate the notion of a statement that is empty of content; - determine whether a statement is obscure, distorted, or empty of content; and - identify criteria and questions to consider when evaluating sources and webpages. 

1.1 Introduction to Critical Thinking   1.1.1 Basic Overview of Critical Thinking   - Web Media: University of British Columbia’s Learning Commons: “Critical Thinking” Link: University of British Columbia’s Learning Commons: “Critical Thinking” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Watch this video for a basic sense of what critical thinking is and why it is important.
 
Watching this video and pausing to take notes should take approximately 15 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. It is attributed to the University of British Colombia’s Learning Commons, and the original version can be found here.

1.1.2 The Nature and Value of Critical Thinking   - Reading: University of Hong Kong’s Critical Thinking Web: Joe Lau and Jonathan Chan’s Thinking Skills: “Tutorials C01–C04” Link: University of Hong Kong’s Critical Thinking Web: Joe Lau and Jonathan Chan’s Thinking Skills: “Tutorials C01–C04” (HTML)

 Instructions: Read these four tutorials. As you read the section
titled “What Is Critical Thinking?” compare the abilities that a
person acquires after becoming a critical thinker with your own
goals as a student as well as with your future career and life
goals.  
    
 Reading these tutorials and comparing a critical thinker’s
abilities with your own goals should take approximately 30
minutes.  
    
 Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a [Creative Commons
Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share-Alike License
3.0](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/). It is
attributed to Joe Lau and Jonathan Chan, and the original version
can be found [here](http://philosophy.hku.hk/think/).

1.1.3 Review of Introduction to Critical Thinking   - Activity: The Saylor Foundation’s “PHIL102 Discussion Forum” Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “PHIL102 Discussion Forum” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Consider the following questions below from a variety of angles. Then, share your thoughts on the discussion forum by clicking on the link above and creating a free account, if you have not already done so. Make sure to review and respond to one or two other students’ posts before logging off.
 
1.    Is critical thinking important? Why, or why not?
2.    How will the understanding and use of critical thinking benefit you in your life now and in the future?
3.    How do emotions affect one’s ability to think critically?
 
Completing this activity should take approximately 30 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: The questions presented above are adapted from the University of Hong Kong’s Critical Thinking Web, which is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share-Alike License 3.0. It is attributed to Joe Lau and Jonathan Chan, and the original version can be found here.

1.2 Meaning Analysis   1.2.1 The Elements of Meaning   - Reading: University of Hong Kong’s Critical Thinking Web: Joe Lau and Jonathan Chan’s Meaning Analysis: “Introduction–Tutorial M05” Link: University of Hong Kong’s Critical Thinking Web: Joe Lau and Jonathan Chan’s Meaning Analysis: “Introduction–Tutorial M05” (HTML)
 
Instructions: While meaning may not seem like the sort of thing that needs explaining, the ways in which it is produced, both in speech and in writing, can lead to confusion and thus warrant close examination.
 
Read the introduction and these five tutorials on the nature of linguistic meaning, the different types of definitions, the difference between literal meaning and conversational implicature, and the difference between verbal and factual disputes.
 
Complete the exercises presented in tutorials M01, M04, and M05 to enhance your critical thinking skills and your understanding of meaning. After you have completed these exercises, check your responses against the following: “Tutorial M01 Answer Key” (PDF), “Tutorial M04 Answer Key” (PDF), and “Tutorial M05 Answer Key” (PDF).
 
Reading these tutorials and completing the exercises should take approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share-Alike License 3.0. It is attributed to Joe Lau and Jonathan Chan, and the original version can be found here.

  • Activity: The Saylor Foundation’s “PHIL102 Discussion Forum” Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “PHIL102 Discussion Forum” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Evaluate the definitions presented below. If you find a definition to be inadequate or flawed, try to provide a better definition. Share your thoughts on the discussion forum by clicking on the link above and creating a free account, if you have not already done so. Review comments and alternative definitions that other students have posted, and respond to at least one or two other students’ posts.
     
    1.    Discuss this definition of sexual abuse: To sexually abuse a person is to do something to that person that is related to sex and which the person finds to be unpleasant.
    2.    Discuss Mark Twain’s definition of love: Love is the irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired.
    3.    Discuss this definition of cloud: A cloud is a large, semi-transparent mass with fleecy texture suspended in the atmosphere whose shape is subject to continual change.
     
    Completing this activity should take approximately 30 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: The questions presented above are adapted from the University of Hong Kong’s Critical Thinking Web, which is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share-Alike License 3.0. It is attributed to Joe Lau and Jonathan Chan, and the original version can be found here.

1.2.2 Necessary and Sufficient Conditions   - Reading: University of Hong Kong’s Critical Thinking Web: Joe Lau and Jonathan Chan’s Meaning Analysis: “Tutorial M06” Link: University of Hong Kong’s Critical Thinking Web: Joe Lau and Jonathan Chan’s Meaning Analysis: “Tutorial M06” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Phenomena in the world are related to one another in all sorts of complicated ways. Sometimes we can say very generally whether one thing is necessary for something else or whether it is merely sufficient.
 
Read this tutorial on how to determine whether a condition is necessary or sufficient and how to express these properties in writing.
 
Complete the exercises for this tutorial. Then, check your responses against the “Tutorial M06 Answer Key” (PDF).

 Reading this tutorial and completing the exercises should take
approximately 30 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a [Creative Commons
Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share-Alike License
3.0](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/). It is
attributed to Joe Lau and Jonathan Chan, and the original version
can be found [here](http://philosophy.hku.hk/think/).

1.2.3 Thinking Critically about Ordinary Language   - Reading: University of Hong Kong’s Critical Thinking Web: Joe Lau and Jonathan Chan’s Meaning Analysis: “Tutorials M08–M10” Link: University of Hong Kong’s Critical Thinking Web: Joe Lau and Jonathan Chan’s Meaning Analysis: “Tutorials M08–M10” (HTML)

 Instructions: Thinking needs to be precise and clear, but the
language we use to express our thoughts is often imprecise and
misleading.  
    
 Read these three tutorials, which identify common ways in which
language can lead us astray.  
    
 Complete the exercises in Tutorials M08 and M09 to enhance your
understanding of the material. Then, check your responses against
the [“Tutorial M08 Answer
Key”](http://www.saylor.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/PHIL102-Subunit1.2.3-TutorialMA08AnswerKey-FINAL.pdf)
(PDF) and [“Tutorial M09 Answer
Key”](http://www.saylor.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/PHIL102-Subunit1.2.3-TutorialMA09AnswerKey-FINAL.pdf)
(PDF).  
    
 Reading these tutorials, completing the exercises, and taking notes
should take approximately 2 hours.  
    
 Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a [Creative Commons
Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share-Alike License
3.0](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/). It is
attributed to Joe Lau and Jonathan Chan, and the original version
can be found [here](http://philosophy.hku.hk/think/).

1.2.4 Review of Meaning Analysis   - Assessment: University of Hong Kong’s Critical Thinking Web: Joe Lau and Jonathan Chan’s “Evaluating Definitions” Link: University of Hong Kong’s Critical Thinking Web: Joe Lau and Jonathan Chan’s “Evaluating Definitions” (HTML)

 Instructions: Complete this assessment, which will give you an
opportunity to practice evaluating definitions.  
    
 Completing this assessment should take approximately 30 minutes.  
    
 Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a [Creative Commons
Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share-Alike License
3.0](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/). It is
attributed to Joe Lau and Jonathan Chan, and the original version
can be found [here](http://philosophy.hku.hk/think/).
  • Assessment: University of Hong Kong’s Critical Thinking Web: Joe Lau and Jonathan Chan’s Critical Thinking Exercises: “Explaining Differences in Meaning” Link: University of Hong Kong’s Critical Thinking Web: Joe Lau and Jonathan Chan’s Critical Thinking Exercises: “Explaining Differences in Meaning” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Complete this assessment, which will give you an opportunity to further explore ways in which statements differ in meaning.
     
    Completing this assessment should take approximately 30 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share-Alike License 3.0. It is attributed to Joe Lau and Jonathan Chan, and the original version can be found here.

  • Assessment: University of Hong Kong’s Critical Thinking Web: Joe Lau and Jonathan Chan’s Critical Thinking Exercises: “Explaining Connections” Link: University of Hong Kong’s Critical Thinking Web: Joe Lau and Jonathan Chan’s Critical Thinking Exercises: “Explaining Connections” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Complete this assessment, which will give you an opportunity to further explore necessary and sufficient conditions.
     
    Completing this assessment should take approximately 30 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share-Alike License 3.0. It is attributed to Joe Lau and Jonathan Chan, and the original version can be found here

1.3 Assessing Sources   1.3.1 General Strategies for Assessing Sources   - Reading: Empire State College Online Library: “Information Skills Tutorial” Link: Empire State College Online Library: “Information Skills Tutorial” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read all five sections of this tutorial from “Evaluate Sources and the Information in Them” through “Purpose and Perspective,” and then take the “Evaluating Sources Quiz.” This tutorial discusses appropriate questions to ask in order to determine whether a source is credible and reliable. As you read through the tutorial, make a list of important questions to ask. Leave plenty of space between each question. As you proceed, make notes under each question about why that question is important. Also, write down any tips to consider when attempting to answer each question.
 
Reading this tutorial and completing the quiz should take approximately 2 hours.
 
Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. It is attributed to Empire State College Online Library, and the original version can be found here

1.3.2 Checklists for Assessing Sources   - Reading: Duke University Libraries: “Evaluating Information Sources: Basic Principles” and “Evaluating Web Pages” Link: Duke University Libraries: “Evaluating Information Sources: Basic Principles” (HTML) and “Evaluating Web Pages” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Study “Evaluating Information Sources: Basic Principles” and “Evaluating Web Pages.” These notes address the basic principles of evaluating sources. The first resource provides a brief checklist of questions to consider when assessing the quality and reliability of sources, and the second resource provides a checklist of questions to consider when specifically assessing Internet sources. Using these lists of questions, spend some time surfing the Internet and practice applying the questions to sources you find.
 
Studying these notes and applying the questions to sources on the Internet should take approximately 2 hours.
 
Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. It is attributed to Duke University Libraries, and the original version can be found here

1.3.3 Assessing Internet Sources   - Reading: Boundless: “Evaluating Internet Material” Link: Boundless: “Evaluating Internet Material” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read this article, which explains factors relevant to assessing the reliability of Internet sources. Many of the factors mentioned in this material are also relevant to assessing the reliability of other sources.
 
Reading this article and taking notes should take approximately 1 hour.
 
Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. It is attributed to Boundless, and the original version can be found here

1.3.4 Review of Assessing Sources   - Activity: The Saylor Foundation’s “PHIL102 Discussion Forum” Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “PHIL102 Discussion Forum” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Consider your experiences with finding and assessing sources. In particular, using a personal experience as an example, discuss whether, and to what extent, one of the strategies in this section for evaluating sources has been or would have been helpful. Share your thoughts on the discussion forum by clicking on the link above and creating a free account, if you have not already done so. Review and respond to at least one or two other students’ posts.
 
Completing this activity should take approximately 30 minutes.