Professor Gary Jason, PhD | Critical Thinking

Critical Thinking

Course Syllabus

PH 105: Critical Thinking

CSUF Spring 2011

Teacher: Dr. Gary Jason Section: MW 11:30-12:45pm (EC32)
Office: Humanities 230-D email:
Home office: 949-492-8650 Home fax: 949-492-4531

Office Hours: MW 1-2:20 pm and by appointment. I am not on campus Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.

Website: This site has your grades, my policy on cheating, all class handouts, bulletins, class code of conduct, text errata, and links to other sites of use. Log on ASAP to familiarize yourself with it. Especially important is to check out the text errata, and download the notes. *NOTE: I post grades only on my website—I do not use Blackboard*



1. Critical Thinking: Developing an Effective Worldview, Gary Jason, Wadsworth, 2001

2. Student Study Guide for Critical Thinking Gary Jason (photocopy)

**The main text is available at The Little Professor bookstore, 725 North Placentia Ave, Fullerton 714-996-3133; the student study guide is ONLY available at Copyco, in the strip mall at the corner of Chapman and State College 714-680-9800.

Course Description: The aim of this course is to develop the student’s ability to reason critically, and improve his/her ability to make informed decisions in everyday life.

Grade scale: It is department policy that all courses be graded on a +/- basis. Cutoffs:

A+ A A- B+ B B- C+ C C D+ D D-
97% 94% 90% 87% 84% 80% 77% 74% 70% 67% 64% 60%

NOTE: CSUF requires a grade of “C” or higher to meet the General Education requirement for this course—a grade of “C-” (or below) will not satisfy the GE requirement.

Assessment Procedures: The student is expected to attend regularly, keep up with the reading, and do all the homework assignments. There will be two midterms and a final exam. Some of the homework will be collected and graded, and a short writing project will be assigned. Participation points will be given for each contribution (question, or attempted answers to problems).


Test #1 (Covers Chaps 2-8) 50 minutes 25%
Test #2 (Covers Chap 9-13) 50 minutes 25%
Final exam (Cumulative, but focuses on chaps 14-19) 1 hour 30%
Homework + project + participation

Participation points awarded as follows: 1 point for any question; 2 points for attempting to answer any question.



Attendance will be recorded after the first week, and you will be graded on it as follows: miss 0 classes = 100%; miss one class = 95%; miss 2 classes = 85%; miss 3 classes = 75%; miss 4 classes = 65%; miss 5+ classes = (100-10x) where x is the number of classes missed..


**There are no “extra credit” assignments, and no HW is accepted late. (You can fax HW to me, or drop it off at the Philosophy office (H-214) and have the secretary put a date and time on it. Do NOT email it!) I give make-up exams (which are graded to higher standards) only when there is a signed doctor’s note or other proof of illness or other emergency.


** Suggestion:

We are working with a text I wrote. I tend to lecture lightly on the text, but work lots of problems. So:

  • Work with the study guide. It has chapter reviews, extra problems, and additional answers to exercises
  • Don’t attempt problems until you watch me work them first.

read the text lightly before lecture

listen to the lecture, watch me solve problems

reread the text carefully

do the homework

The HW is important because: (a) the material we cover is task- not fact- oriented; (b) the questions on exams are of the same type as HW questions.


My general policy on cheating can be summarized as follows:

Any student who cheats at any time in my class will be given an ”F” for the entire course, and I will turn the incident over to the Chairperson of the Department for whatever further action is required by the College or University. For further amplification, see below.

Class Conduct:

Students are expected to:

  • Show up for class on time
  • Leave early only when prior permission has been granted
  • Talk only as part of class discussion
  • Refrain from making disrespectful or harassing remarks
  • Turn off all pagers, beepers, and cell phones before class. No iPods or laptops.
  • You may bring coffee or other beverages, but please no food

Teacher is expected to:

  • Start lecture on time
  • Stop class on time
  • Spare the student irrelevancies, such as his political opinions or details of  his personal life
  • Encourage questions and class participation
  • Keep regular office hours and be otherwise accessible
  • Keep students informed on grading

Project: To fulfill the University writing requirement, and to get further practice in identifying fallacies in real-life contexts, you will find TEN fallacies and write an essay (no more than 5 pages) explaining why they are fallacies. Good sources: political debates, speeches, interviews, ads, contracts, letters to the editor, and mailers. You must attach the original source or a copy of it to your essay. Enough of the original must be present so that I can verify that a real fallacy occurred.

Approximate Lecture Schedule:


Day/Date Topic Reading (MT = main text; SSG = Student Study Guide)
Monday, Jan 24 The nature of critical thinking MT chap 1 all
Wednesday, Jan 26 Basic logical concepts: statements, questions MT chap 2 sections 1-3, Chapter 3 all + SSG
Monday, Jan 31 Basic logical concepts: questions, arguments MT chapter 4 sections 1-5 + SSG


Day/Date Topic Reading
Wednesday, Feb 2 Arguments MT Chap 4, + SSG
Monday, Feb 7 Finish identifying arguments (above)
Wednesday, Feb 9 inductive vs. inductive chapter 5 all
Monday, Feb 14 Clarity MT chap 6 all + SSG
Wednesday, Feb 16 Finish clarity (above)
Monday, Feb 21 President’s Day Campus closed
Wednesday, Feb 23 Relevance MT chapter 8 all + SSG
Monday, Jan 28 Finish relevance, review (above)


Day/Date Topic Reading
Wednesday, March 2 Test #1 (when we finish chap 8; may not be on this exact date) n/a
Monday, March 7 Consistency, Observation SSG replacement chap 9; MT Chapter 11 sections 1,2
Wednesday, March 9 Memory, testimony MT Chapter 11 remainder + SSG
Monday, March 14 Finish Testimony (above)
Wednesday, March 16 Generalization MT Chapter 12 sections 1-3 + SSG
Monday, March 21 Instantiation MT Chapter 12 sections 4-6 + SSG
Wednesday, March 23 Analogy MT chap 13 sections 1-3 + SSG
Monday, March 28 Spring Break Campus closed
Wednesday, March 30 Spring Break Campus closed


Day/Date Topic Reading
Monday, April 4 Finish analogy, review
Wednesday, April 6 Test #2 (when finish chap 13—may not be this exact date)
Monday, April 11 Causal inference MT Chap 14 sections 1-3
Wednesday, April 13 Causal inference MT chap 14 section 4 + SSG
Monday, April 18 Rational choice MT Chap 16 all +SSG
Wednesday, April 20 Finish rational choice (above)
Monday, April 25 Sales trickery MT Chapter 17 all + SSG
Wednesday, April 27 Sales trickery (above)


Day/Date Topic Reading
Monday, May 2 Political trickery Chapter 18 all + SSG
Wednesday, May 4 Finish political trickery (above)
Monday, May 9 Science v. pseudo-science Chapter 19 SSG
Wednesday, May 11 Science v. pseudo-science (above)
Friday, May 20 Final Exam *12:00-1:00pm n/a



My general policy on cheating can be summarized as follows:

Any student who cheats at any time in my class will be given an ”F” for the entire course, and I will turn the incident over to the Chairperson of the Department for whatever further action is required by the College or University.

Some amplifying remarks are in order. By “cheating“ I mean copying work from other students, either homework or exams, or allowing other students to copy from your homework or tests. This of course applies to the work of my past students. If you want to do homework together in study groups, let me know ahead of time, and each member should turn in the assignment separately, but note the group affiliation.

By “cheating” I also mean plagiarizing, that is, copying work from articles, essays or books you are consulting for a class essay without attributing in a footnote the source. Your footnotes should include the name of the author whose work you are quoting, the title of the work, the pages being quoted, and where it was published (journals: journal name, date, number, volume, and page numbers; books: date, publishing company and city). THIS APPLIES EQUALLY WELL TO ANY MATERIAL DOWNLOADED FROM THE INTERNET OR COMPUTER ENCYCLOPEDIAS.

By “cheating” I further include “farming out,” that is, paying someone or some service to write your essays or other work for you, or to do your research for you, either someone you directly hire, or so-called “research sites” on the internet such as Gradesaver or The Evil House of Cheat.

You can learn more about what plagiarism is and how to avoid it by visiting the two websites listed below:

Issues of cheating are handled by JUDICIAL AFFAIRS:

Titan Student Union 235


Students are expected to conduct themselves as mature and responsible members of the campus community. The Judicial Affairs officer conducts educational workshops that promote and educate students about campus expectations for academic integrity, civility, and appropriate standards of conduct. This office is responsible for coordination of the established judicial procedures if there is an allegation that university standards have been violated.



PH 105 satisfies the following requirements from UPS411.201:

A. Core Competencies (9 units minimum) The Core Competencies include Oral Communication (3 units minimum), Written Communication (3 units minimum), and Critical Thinking (3 units minimum). Overall Goals Students taking courses in Area A shall

·         Organize one’s thoughts and communicate them clearly and effectively, using language that demonstrates sensitivity to gender and cultural differences.

·         Find, evaluate, select, synthesize, organize, cite and present information and arguments clearly and effectively for a variety of purposes and audiences.

·         Recognize and evaluate the features, functions, and contexts of language that express and influence meaning.

·         Compare and contrast with care and accuracy the relative merits of alternative or opposing arguments, interpretations, assumptions, and cultural values.

·         Reflect in an open-minded manner on one’s own thinking in relation to the ideas of others.

A.3. Critical Thinking (3 units minimum) Students taking courses in subarea A3 shall

a. Understand the role of logic and its relation to language.

b. Understand elementary inductive and deductive processes, including formal and informal fallacies.

c. Develop the skills to distinguish propositions and statements of fact from issues of judgment or opinion.

d. Develop skills to advocate for ideas.

e. Develop skills to reach well-supported factual and judgmental conclusions and the skills to successfully advocate for these conclusions.

f. Evaluate, critique, and analyze the quality and sufficiency of evidence and other forms of support for a position, include recognition of underlying lines of argument.

These General Education goals will be met by the material covered in class. Specifically:

àGE Core Competency Learning Goal (A)s: PH105 is a course intended to help the student achieve the core competencies of General Education Core Competencies A. By meeting the course objectives, the student will be able:

  • To use the knowledge learned about the pitfalls of language to clarify the facts and concepts that are involved in answering questions and solving problems
  • To use the knowledge learned about fallacies of relevance to determine what evidence and experience bears on a given problem or decision
  • To use the knowledge learned about the basic forms of statements and arguments to recognize basic features of communication
  • To use the knowledge learned about correct argumentation to evaluate evidence offered for any point of view and revise beliefs accordingly

àCritical Thinking Learning Goals (A.3): The course material falls into three categories: basic skills; the criteria for critical thinking; and applications.

  1. BASIC SKILLS: the student will learn
  • To understand the basic forms of statements
  • To understand the basic types of questions, and what counts as responsive answers to them
  • To identify arguments in ordinary contexts
  • To distinguish inductive and deductive arguments
  1. CRITERIA FOR CRITICAL THINKING: the bulk of the course will focus on   assessing critical thinking according to the goals of clarity, relevance, consistency, justification, and explanatory power. The student will learn:
    • To avoid pitfalls of language, such as vagueness and ambiguity
    • To define terms and classify objects
    • To spot irrelevant appeals in argumentation
    • To identify consistency and validity
    • To assess testimony
    • To assess generalizations and instantiations
    • To assess analogies
    • To assess causal inferences
  2. APPLICATIONS: The student will learn to apply the criteria of critical thinking to evaluate:
    • Sales pitches commonly encountered in everyday life
    • Political rhetoric
    • Science vs. pseudoscience



UPS 240.100 prohibits “conduct that has the purpose or effect of interfering with a student’s academic performance, creating an intimidating, hostile, offensive or otherwise adverse learning environment, or adversely affecting any student’s access to campus programs, services and benefits.” This policy applies to both faculty and students. Here is the relevant section:

UPS 240.100



It is the policy of California State University, Fullerton and the California State University to maintain a working and learning environment free from sexual harassment of its students, employees and those who apply for student or employee status. Sexual harassment is illegal under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the

Higher Education Amendments of 1972, and the California Education Code 89535.

Executive Order 345 Prohibition of Sexual Harassment also prohibits sexual harassment within the California State University System. The University will not tolerate sexual

harassment and will take action to eliminate such behavior.


Sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when:

1. Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment;

2. Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting such individual;

3. Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment [Citation: Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Guidelines on Sexual Harassment];

4. Such conduct has the purpose or effect of interfering with a student’s academic

performance, creating an intimidating, hostile, offensive or otherwise adverse learning environment, or adversely affecting any student’s access to campus programs, services and benefits.


The President is responsible for the implementation of this policy, establishment of procedures for the resolution of complaints, and preparation of periodic status reports. All supervisors and managers are responsible for the implementation of this policy and maintaining a working and learning environment free from sexual harassment.

This policy and a listing of offices designated to receive complaints shall be widely disseminated to all members of the University community and publicized in official campus publications.


The procedure shall conform to the following general principles:

1. The policy and procedures shall be enforced in a manner consistent with due process protections, including the right of any individual charged with a violation to notice

and a hearing.

2. Confidentiality shall be of primary importance insofar as may be consistent with due process.

3. Informal resolution shall be the established practice for minor conflicts and disputes. Major disputes and recurring minor incidents of intentionally discriminatory behavior should be addressed through formal resolution.

4. Records shall be maintained which are adequate for statistical and policy review. Record keeping must not be inconsistent with, and must not take priority over, confidentiality and a preference for informal dispute resolution.

5. Any member of the campus community may use the procedures except as otherwise provided for under an agreement between a collective bargaining unit and the University. Faculty, staff and administrative employees should refer to the appropriate collective bargaining agreement for filing complaints of harassment,

Executive Order 419 Discrimination Complaints for Employees Not Covered by Existing Regulation or Executive Order 675 System-wide Complaint Procedure for Discrimination Complaints by Employees Not Eligible to File a Discrimination Complaint or Grievance Under a Collective Bargaining Agreement, and should contact any of these offices for assistance: Affirmative Action, Associate Vice President Academic Affairs, or Human Resources.

6. Students and employees who knowingly file fraudulent complaints under this policy and implementing procedures are subject to disciplinary action.

7. Students and employees will not be subject to retaliation for filing legitimate complaints.



Students with disabilities who need support services should identify themselves to the instructor when convenient. If you are taking the test under special conditions, the necessary paperwork should be submitted prior to the test. Any such student can do this during my office hours or on my office phone to protect student anonymity.

For further information, consult: DISABLED STUDENT SERVICES

University Hall 101

657-278-3117 (V) 278-2408 (FAX)

The Office of Disabled Student Services provides assistance and offers support services to students with temporary and permanent disabilities. The purpose of this program is to make all of the university’s educational, cultural, social, and physical facilities and programs accessible to students with orthopedic, functional, perceptual and/or learning disabilities. The program serves as the delegated authority on campus to review documentation and prescribe specific accommodations for students with disabilities. The professional and support staff are experienced in serving the particular needs of persons with disabilities. The program works in close cooperation with other university departments in order to provide a full range of services. These services include academic accommodations (readers, note takers, ASL interpreters/RTC, alternative testing), accessible technology and instructional materials, counseling, temporary disabled person parking, application assistance and priority registration, as well as academic advisement, career counseling and job-placement, housing and transportation referral and advocacy.

The program also provides diagnostic assessment, counseling, advisement, advocacy and supportive services for students with psychological and other functional and/or learning disabilities. The  program encourages involvement and input from students, faculty and staff in order to maintain a responsive and quality program.

Information regarding programs and services available to students with permanent and temporary disabilities may be obtained from the Office of Disabled Student Services.



Students should acquaint themselves with the Campus Emrgency Procedures plan at:


DIAL 9-1-1
All campus phones and cell phones on campus reach the University Police Department

Non-emergency line: (657) 278-2515

24-hour recorded emergency information line: (657) 278-0911
(657) 278-4444