Viewing: PHIL171: Reasoning For Humans: Clear Thinking in an Uncertain World

Last approved: Tue, 08 Oct 2019 14:48:02 GMT

Last edit: Sat, 07 Sep 2019 13:16:51 GMT

Changes proposed by: Allen Stairs (stairs)

Basic Information

PHIL - Philosophy
User ID First Name Last Name
pacuit Eric Pacuit
Reasoning For Humans: Clear Thinking in an Uncertain World
Fall 2020

Proposed Gen Ed Categories

Fundamental Studies
Is this an I-Series Proposal?

Is Diversity?


Analytical Reasoning

General Questions

Reasoning is a transition in thought in which some beliefs or thoughts provide grounds or reasons for others. What makes certain transitions of thought rational or reasonable and others irrational or erratic is a major focus of investigation in diverse research areas, such as philosophy, logic, artificial intelligence, cognitive science, and psychology. This course is an introduction to logic and probability with a focus on applications to the study of the foundations of human reasoning.
75 to 150
Student learning will be assessed through in-class participation (short polls and one-question quizzes), longer online quizzes, participation in discussion sections (including group work on questions meant to be more challenging) and exams.
This class is meant as an alternative to our standard introduction to logic, PHIL170. It covers a broader range of topics and is interdisciplinary, drawing not only on formal material in logic and probability but also on empirical research in cognitive science and related disciplines.



Oral Communication


Scholarship in Practice


Learning Outcomes Information

Learning outcomes are phrased as “At the completion of this course, students will be
able to…”. Indicate after each learning outcome how the course will:
1. give students the ability to meet the learning outcome
2. determine that students were successful in meeting the learning outcome.


Courses in the I-Series must address at least 4 of the 6 Learning Outcomes.

Identify the major questions and issues in their I-Series course topic


Describe the sources the experts on the topic would use to explore these issues and questions.


Demonstate an understanding of the political, social, economic, and ehtical dimensions involved in the course.


Communicate major ideas and issues raised by the course through effective written and/or oral presentations.


Articulate how this course has invited them to think in new ways about their lives, their place in the University and other communities, and/or issues central to their major disciplines or other fields of interest.


Demonstrate an understanding of basic terms, concepts, and approaches that experts employ in dealing with these issues.



Courses in Humanities must address at least 4 of the 7 Learning Outcomes.

Demonstrate familiarity and facility with fundamental terminology and concepts in a speific topical area in the humanities.


Demonstrate understanding of the methods used by scholars in a specific field in the humanities.


Demonstrate critical thinking in the evaluation of sources and arguments in scholarly works, or in the evaluation of approaches and techniques in the visual, literary, or performing arts.


Describe how language use is related to ways of thinking, cultural heritage, and cultural values.


Conduct research on a topic in the humanities using a variety of sources and technologies.


Demonstrate the ability to formulate a thesis related to a specific topic in the humanities and to support the thesis with evidence and argumentation.


Demonstrate understanding of the creative process and techniques used by practitioners in a specific field of the visual, literary, or performing arts.


Natural Sciences

Courses in the Natural Sciences must address at least 4 of the 6 Learning Outcomes.

Demonstrate a broad understanding of scientific principles and the ways scientists in a particular discipline conduct research.


Apply quantitative, mathematical analyses to science problems.


Solve complex problems requiring the application of several scientific concepts.


Look at complex questions and identify the science and how it impacts and is impacted by political, social, economic, or ethical dimensions.


Critically evaluate scientific arguments and understand the limits of scientific knowledge.


Communicate scientific ideas effectively.

In addition to the Learning Outcomes above, on completion of a Natural Sciences course with a laboratory experience students will be able to:

Demonstrate proficiency in experimental science by: making observations, understanding the fundamental elements of experiment design, generating and analyzing data using appropriate quantitative tools, using abstract reasoning to interpret data and relevant formulae, and testing hypotheses with scientific rigor.


History and Social Sciences

Courses in History and Social Sciences must address at least 4 of the 7 Learning Outcomes.

Demonstrate knowledge of fundamental concepts and ideas in a specific topical area in history or the social sciences.


Demonstrate understanding of the methods that produce knowledge in a specific field in history or the social sciences.


Demonstrate critical thinking in evaluating causal arguments in history or in the social sciences, analyzing major assertions, background assumptions, and explanatory evidence.


Explain how culture, social structure, diversity, or other key elements of historical context have an impact on individual perception, action, and values.


Articulate how historical change shapes ideas and social and political structures.


Explain how history or social science can be used to analyze contemporary issues and to develop policies for social change.


Use information technologies to conduct research and to communicate effectively about social science and history.


Scholarship in Practice

Courses in Scholarship in Practice must address at least 4 of the 5 Learning Outcomes

Select and critically evaluate areas of scholarship relevant to the practice of the discipline.


Apply relevant methods and frameworks to the planning, modeling, and/or preparing necessary to produce a project or participate in the practice in a manner that is authentic to the discipline.


Critique, revise and refine a project, or the practice of the discipline, according the authentic manner of the discipline.


Effectively communicate the application of scholarship through ancillary material (written, oral, and/or visual).


Collaborate in order to bring about a successful outcome.


Understanding Plural Societies

Courses in Understanding Plural Societies must address at least 4 of the 6 Learning Outcomes.

Demonstrate understanding of the basis of human diversity and sociallydriven constructions of difference: biological, cultural, historical, social, economic, or ideological.


Demonstrate understanding of fundamental concepts and methods that produce knowledge about plural societies and systems of classification.


Explicate the policies, social structures, ideologies or institutional structures that do or do not create inequalities based on notions of human difference.


Interrogate, critique, or question traditional hierarchies or social categories.


Analyze forms and traditions of thought or expression in relation to cultural, historical, political, and social contexts, as for example, dance, foodways, literature, music, and philosophical and religious traditions.


Use a comparative, intersectional, or relational framework to examine the experiences, cultures, or histories of two or more social groups or constituencies within a single society or across societies, or within a single historical timeframe or across historical time.


Cultural Competence

Courses in Cultural Competence must address at least 3 of the 5 Learning Outcomes.

Understand and articulate a multiplicity of meanings of the concept of culture.


Explain how cultural beliefs influence behaviors and practices at the individual, organizational, or societal levels.


Reflect in depth about critical similarities, differences, and intersections between their own and others' cultures or sub-cultures so as to demonstrate a deepening or transformation of original perspectives.


Compare and contrast similarities, differences, and intersections among two or more cultures.


Effectively use skills to negotiate cross-cultural situations or conflicts in interactions inside or outside the classroom.



Courses in Mathematics must address at least 3 of the 5 Learning Outcomes.

Interpret mathematical models given verbally, or by formulas, graphs, tables, or schematics, and draw inferences from them.


Represent mathematical concepts verbally, and, where appropriate, symbolically, visually, and numerically.


Use arithmetic, algebraic, geometric, technological, or statistical methods to solve problems.


Use mathematical reasoning with appropriate technology to solve problems, test conjectures, judge the validity of arguments, formulate valid arguments, check answers to determine reasonableness, and communicate the reasoning and the results.


Recognize and use connections within mathematics and between mathematics and other disciplines.


Academic Writing

Demonstrate an understanding of writing as a series of tasks, including finding, evaluating, analyzing, and synthesizing appropriate sources, and as a process that involves composing, editing, and revising.


Demonstrate critical reading and analytical skills, including understanding an argument's major assertions and assumptions and how to evaluate its supporting evidence.


Demonstrate facility with the fundamentals of persuasion as these are adapted to a variety of special situations and audiences in academic writing.


Demonstrate research skills, integrate their own ideas with those of others, and apply the conventions of attribution and citation correctly.


Use Standard Written English and edit and revise their own writing for appropriateness. Students should take responsibility for such features as format, syntax, grammar, punctuation, and spelling.


Demonstrate an understanding of the connection between writing and thinking and use writing and reading for inquiry, learning, thinking, and communicating in an academic setting.


Analytic Reasoning

Courses in Analytic Reasoning must address at least 4 of the 6 Learning Outcomes.

Demonstrate proficient application of the skills required by the Mathematics Fundamental Studies requirement, including the ability to communicate using formal or mathematical tools.

Students will be introduced to basic topics that call for application of formal methods--in this case, formal logic and probability. In addition to providing written solutions to problems testing their understanding of logic and probability, students will be required to discuss their solutions with other students and to present their solutions to the class during the sections.
Students will be assessed through their performance on the online quizzes and in-class exams. Questions will require both formal manipulation and verbal explanation of the use of formal tools.

Distinguish between premises and conclusions, or between data and inferences from data.

One of the main components of the course is the formal study of arguments. The first step in a logical analysis of arguments is to distinguish between premises and conclusions. Using probability to study reasoning and arguments requires students to distinguish between data and inferences from data. The problems from the online quizzes and the exams will assess the student's ability to distinguish between both premises and conclusions and between data and inferences from data.
Students will be assessed on this outcome through problems and questions on in-class exams and tests, and through online quizzes.

Understand the differences among appropriate and inappropriate analytical methods for drawing conclusions.


Apply appropriate analytical methods to evaluate inferences and to reason about complex information.

An important part of the course is the use of logic and probability to study evaluate experiments about humans reasoning and to understand philosophical puzzles and paradoxes about reasoning. Students will be required to answer short essay-type responses discussing how logical and probabilistic methods can help to analyze and evaluate the experiments and philosophical puzzles and paradoxes.
Evaluation of this outcome will be through short essay-type responses to questions on relevant experiments and philosophical puzzles and paradoxes.

Systematically evaluate evidence for accuracy, limitations, and relevance, and identify alternative interpretations of evidence.

Throughout the course, students will consisder experimental evidence about how humans reason and will ask whether logical and probabilistic inference faithfully captures human reasoning. The students will learn to evaluate these experiments critically and to provide alternative interpretations of the experimental evidence. Students will discuss relevant readings in class and give written responses to questions about the interpretation of experimental results on human reasoning.
Assessment will use written responses on tests and quizzes to questions about the evaluation of experimental results on human reasoning.

Use formal, analytical, or computational techniques to address real-world problems.

The question of how best to evaluate and improve reasoning is one that has clear real-world relevance. The course will examine the extent to which formal models of reasoning (using logic or probability) faithfully capture human reasoning. The readings and class discussions will focus on the the use of logic and probability to evaluate and improve critical reasoning.
Assessment will be through in-class tests and exams and online quizzes.

Oral Communication

Courses in Oral Communication must address at least 6 of the 9 Learning Outcomes.

Demonstrate an understanding of the role of oral communication in academic, social, and professional endeavors.


Demonstrate effectiveness in using verbal and nonverbal language appropriate to the goal and the context of the communication.


Demonstrate an ability to listen carefully.


Demonstrate an enhanced awareness of one's own communication style and choices.


Demonstrate an ability to communicate interpersonally and interculturally with others in conversation, interview, and group discussion contexts.


Demonstrate skill in asking and in responding to questions.


Demonstrate competency in planning, preparing, and presenting effective oral presentations.


Use effective presentation techniques including presentation graphics.


Demonstrate awareness of communication ethics in a global society.


Professional Writing

Analyze a variety of professional rhetorical situations and produce appropriate texts in response.


Understand the stages required to produce competent, professional writing through planning, drafting, revising, and editing.


Identify and implement the appropriate research methods for each writing task.


Practice the ethical use of sources and the conventions of citation appropriate to each genre.


Write for the intended readers of a text, and design or adapt texts to audiences who may differ in their familiarity with the subject matter.


Demonstrate competence in Standard Written English, including grammar, sentence and paragraph structure, coherence, and document design (including the use of the visual) and be able to use this knowledge to revise texts.


Produce cogent arguments that identify arguable issues, reflect the degree of available evidence, and take account of counter arguments.

Douglas Roberts (roberts) (Wed, 18 Sep 2019 15:18:53 GMT): This is a test comment. Please ignore.
Douglas Roberts (roberts) (Tue, 08 Oct 2019 14:47:31 GMT): This course was reviewed and approved in the old Gen Ed system.
Key: 1