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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Andrea Sullivan-Clarke
T PHIL 250
Tacoma Campus

Practical Reasoning

Introduces concepts and methods useful for practical analysis of arguments in everyday contexts; meaning, syllogisms, inductive and deductive inference, informal fallacies, argument structure, moral reasoning, and legal reasoning.

Class description

The purpose of this course is to study argumentation. The goal is to enable students to recognize several different forms of argument and to construct their own arguments. The world of information today is full of bad arguments. It’s crucial therefore that we be able to recognize bad arguments, to identify fallacies and common, misguiding rhetorical devices in order to avoid making such errors in our own arguments. This course is designed to introduce you to the various forms of argumentation and the ways to assess the strengths/limitations of those arguments.

Student learning goals

Identify the Different Forms of Argumentation

Extract and Reconstruct Arguments from Different Media

Develop Strategies for Critically Evaluating Each Form

Construct Arguments in Support of a Particular Position

General method of instruction

This is a small lecture course with a focus on student participation.

Recommended preparation

No prerequisites.

Class assignments and grading

Homework: Weekly homework assignments will be posted on the course web site and due on Friday of that week. Homework problems will be discussed in lecture and “corrected” by peers. However, homework will ultimately be graded for completion.

Participation: Students are expected to actively participate in class. This can by accomplished by actively listening, asking good questions, participating in class discussion/exercises, and attending office hours.

Critical Draft/Paper: Students are expected to write a 2-3 page critical paper, which will be assigned during Week 7. The first draft is due during class, and at that time, the papers will undergo peer review for a grade of 25 points. The final paper (worth 50 points and no longer than 5 pages) and the original draft are due during Week 9.

Exams: Tentative dates for Exams 1 and 2 are January 27th and February 19th respectively. Exam 3 will be held on the last day of class, March 14th. All exams will cover lecture material, readings, as well as in-class discussion. You may be tested on assigned readings that were not covered in class. No Blue Books or Scantrons needed!

Homework 10% Participation 15% Critical Draft/Paper 5%/10% Exam 1 20% Exam 2 20% Exam 3 20%


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Additional Information
Last Update by Andrea Sullivan-Clarke
Date: 11/18/2013