|Prof. Michael Kagan
||Office Hours in RH-422 (445-4489)
|PHL 312-01, An Introduction to Informal
|Logic and Critical Thinking
|| and by appointment.
|Syllabus for Spring 2000
COURSE OBJECTIVE The
main aim of this course is to help students to:
develop their abilities to detect and defend themselves from
deceptive arguments and attempts to persuade;
evaluate arguments and attempts to persuade
construct better arguments of their own.
Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People
in many editions).
Gavin de Becker. The Gift of Fear (1997, Dell
Suzette Haden Elgin, Genderspeak: Men, Women, and the
Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1993).
Michael Kagan. Working draft chapters from "Informal
Logic as a Martial Art," photocopy (referred to as ILMA in assignments).
H. Anthony Medley. Sweaty Palms: The Neglected
Art of Being Interviewed, revised edition (Ten Speed Press, 1992).
OPTIONAL TEXTS AND READINGS
Nicholas Capaldi. The Art of Deception, second edition.
Buffalo, New York: Prometheus Books, 1979 [new revised edition, 1987].
Robert B. Cialdini. Influence: The New Psychology of Modern
Persuasion, revised edition. New York: Quill, 1991.
Suzette Haden Elgin. The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense.
First published in the USA by Prentice-Hall in 1980.
Darrell Huff. How to Lie with Statistics (with pictures
by Irving Geis). New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1954.
R.H. Johnson and J.A. Blair. Logical Self-Defense,
second edition. Toronto: McGraw-Hill Ryerson Limited, 1983.
Michael Kagan. Educating Heroes (Durango, Colorado:
Machiavelli. The Prince and The Discourses, edited
with an introduction by Max Lerner. Modern Library College Edition. New
York: Random House Modern Library Edition, 1950 (available in many editions).
Miyamoto Musashi. A Book of Five Rings, translated
by Victor Harris. Woodstock, New York: The Overlook Press, 1974.
Sun Tzu. The Art of War, edited with a forward by
James Clavell. New York: Delacourte Press, 1983.
Carl Wellman. Challenge and Response: Justification in
Ethics. Carbondale and Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press,
Anthony Weston, A Rulebook For Arguments, second edition,
We will introduce and examine the techniques of informal
logic as answers to the general question, "When ought one accept a given
conclusion on the basis of argument?" To do this, we will consider the
classical sources of logic in the analysis of debates, and what is now
called "informal logic." This will be the focus of the earlier lectures
and the readings.
We will apply these skills to attempts at persuasion addressed
to general audiences as well as to other encounters. A major focus
of our study will be defense against fallacies and frequently used types
of attack and illegitimate persuasion. We will consider these techniques
as used in a wide variety of fields (psychology, ethics, politics, and
advertising among them) as well as in our own argument experiences. Students
will be required to find examples of arguments addressed to the public,
and to relate or create examples of their own debates on issues of their
EVALUATIONS AND REQUIREMENTS
Failure to complete any of (1)-(4) can result in a failing
grade. Plagiarism will result in a failing grade.
In-Class Midterm [there is also a take-home option]
Final Project and its presentation (25%)
The eight short writing assignments (25%)
Participation, in-class writings, optional writings and extra
credit assignments (25%). Since you are not participating when
you don't attend class, you will need to make up any absences with extra-credit
assignments and journalling.
Students are expected to be familiar with the material
in the lectures, discussions, and the required text.
Final Projects and other assignments will be determined
on the basis of each student's goals. Possibilities include the following:
This version of the final project consists of a written
presentation and analysis of both sides of a debate on some controversial
moral, political, religious, philosophical or other issue (please check
with the instructor). This presentation may take a variety of forms. For
example, the student may write a dialogue or story presenting arguments
for both sides of an issue, or comment on and analyze a series of letters
to the editor or editorials on the chosen issue. If the argument is presented
[e.g., from the editorial page], the student will be obliged to show how
the weaker arguments might be strengthened. If a clear loser emerges in
the debate, the grade will be weighted in terms of the performance of the
loser [as augmented by the student's suggestions for improvements in the
case of a presented debate].
A report or creation of a dialogue between the student and
another person containing an argument, with the student's analysis and
An investigation of how some aspect(s) of race, class, culture,
class, gender and/or religion may affect some range or type of persuading
Students may present and analyze an argument addressed
to a general audience.
The final project described below.
In coordination with the Academic
Support Center (ASC), reasonable accommodations are provided for qualified
students with disabilities. Please register with Anne Herron in the ASC
Office for disability verification and determination of reasonable accommodations.
After receiving your accommodation form from the ASC, you will need to
make an appointment with me to review the form and discuss your needs.
Please make every attempt to meet with me within the first week of class
so your accommodations can be provided in a timely manner. You can either
stop by the ASC, Library, 1st floor, or call (445-4118 - voice or 445-4104
- TDD) to make an appointment with Ms. Herron.
For every presentation, you will be required to turn in an outline or abstract
of your presentation, complete with a list of all works used.
Also, if you use any web pages, not only should these be listed on the
outline with the rest of your bibliography, but you are also required to
turn in a printout of all web pages used in preparing the presentation.
If you present with a group that divides the work into separate parts,
each member of the group will need to provide his or her own outline/abstract
and printouts. Outlines/abstracts, and printouts are to be
given to me BEFORE the presentation. Failure to do
so BEFORE the presentation will result in a 30% deduction
from the relevant presenter's presentation grade. If the outline
and printouts are not turned in by the next class, there will be an additional
30% deduction. You may use up to but not more than 5 minutes
of videotaped material for your presentation. If the class is meeting
in a room with a built-in VCR, make sure you know how to use it.
If you need to bring in a VCR for the presentation, you may order one from
AV by calling 445-4380 or on the web at http://www.lemoyne.edu/information_systems/audio_visual/class.htm
In the event of a technical
glitch or delivery problem make sure you can present without the videotaped
NO CLASSES 1/17, 2/21 & 2/22
FRIDAY, MARCH 3: MIDTERM (In-class given;
take-home midterm distributed)
Monday, March 6: Take-home midterm due.
NO CLASSES 3/ 20 - 3/24 Spring Break
Friday, Mar. 10: PROJECT PROPOSALS DUE.
Friday, April 7: WRITTEN PROJECTS DUE.
Monday, April 10: Student presentations on projects
Monday, May 1: Last day of class.
TENTATIVE COURSE SCHEDULE AND ASSIGNMENTS: The course is
divided into 15 weekly divisions; assignments are due as indicated:
Week #1 (of Jan. 10)
Formal and informal logic, classical and medieval origins, the nature of
dialogues, possible uses, philosophical importance. Informal logic as self-defense;
basic principles. What is an Argument? What is persuasion? Non-argumentative
persuasion and attacks.
Required reading: ILMA, Ch. 1. Be prepared to discuss
exercises. Preliminary discussion of the three basics of audience, opponents/partners,
Week #2 (of Jan. 17)
Short writing assignment #1 is the ESSAY DUE MONDAY ON YOUR GOALS FOR THIS
COURSE. Turn in two copies so I have one available for the end of semester
evaluation. Look over the materials for the course, consider
your goals. Explain why you want to achieve them, how you intend
to achieve them, and how this class can help you towards them (or
how your work for this class could be modified to help you towards them).
Read ILMA, Ch. 2. Be prepared to discuss exercises.
Goals and training. Discussion of the method of training: the distinction
between formal exercises, free exercises, competition, and contests with
more severe stakes. "What is an Argument?" (continued): premises, presupposition,
and enthymemes; implication and inference; induction, conduction, and deduction;
validity, soundness and truth; persuasion and conviction. Basic questions
in evaluating arguments. Is there an argument? Who is the audience? Who
the proponent? Is an attack involved? What is the field or subject? The
tactics of the Topics.
Week #3 (of Jan. 24)
"When and how do we challenge arguments?" The basics: Is there an opponent?
Knowing your opponent, knowing the field or subject, knowing yourself.
The issue of emergencies and when not to challenge. Optional:
Sun Tzu and Musashi. Detecting and defending against fallacy. What is a
fallacy? Read ILMA, Ch. 3. Be prepared to discuss exercises. You
should have started reading Gift of Fear and Sweaty Palms.
writing assignment #2 due Friday: How do Sun Tzu's three kinds of
knowledge apply to the work of Medley and de Becker? Extra credit
assignment: How might they bear on some of the tasks of the philosopher,
and how might they be irrelevant or interfere with doing philosophy?
Week #4 (of Jan. 31) Diversionary
tactics and how to reply. Ad hominem fallacies, types and tactics. Diversionary
tactics continued. Fallacies of straw, guilt by association, red herring.
Read ILMA, Ch. 4. Read de Becker through ch. 4. Be prepared
to discuss exercises. Short writing assignment #3 due Friday:
In what ways do these diversionary tactics resemble de Becker's list of
criminals' confidence techniques (forced teaming, too many details, type
casting, etc.)? How do they differ?
Week #5 (of Feb. 7) Disguise
and deception. Read ILMA, Ch. 5, disguise and deception. Be prepared to
discuss exercises. Read de Becker, ch. 5, and Medley, Chs. 5-7. Optional
reading: Huff, Chapter 8, "Post Hoc Rides Again," pp. 87-99; and Machiavelli,
The Prince, Chapter XVIII, "In What Way Princes Must Keep Faith." Disguise
and deception continued. Optional reading: Machiavelli, The Discourses,
Chapter XL, "Deceit in the Conduct of a War is Meritorious," and Chapter
XLVIII, "Any Manifest Error on the Part of an Enemy Should Make us Suspect
some Stratagem." Short writing assignment #4 due February 11:
On the basis of your experience, including other studies, and the
readings in this course, write a 2-3 page essay on plagiarism and
how it can be understood in the context of a persuasion situation.
Week #6 (of Feb. 14.)
Fakes and feints. Loaded terms, ambiguity, equivocation, vagueness. Read
ILMA, Chapter 7, "Oldies but Goodies: Equivocation and some other Appealing
Strategies." Be prepared to discuss exercises. Bluffs and threats.
Read Medley, Ch. 10, and de Becker, Chs. 6 and 7. Short
writing assignment #5 due Friday, Feb., 18: Discuss three kinds of
intimidation from the readings. Try to explain what they presuppose,
and what you can learn from them.
Week #7 (of Feb. 23)
Fallacies in retrospect. Why do fallacies work? Optional Readings:
Weston, Ch. X. "Fallacies," JB, Chapter 7, "The Causes
of Fallacious Reasoning"; and Cialdini, "Epilogue."
Other techniques of the classical rhetorician. The art
of memory; these techniques applied to test taking and public debate.
Week #8 (of Feb. 28).
Introductory Lectures on Carnegie and Elgin. Read all of Carnegie and read
Appendix, "The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense: An Overview." FRIDAY,
MARCH 3: IN-CLASS MIDTERM GIVEN, TAKE-HOME DISTRIBUTED. Take-home
version due Monday, March 6.
Week # 9 (of Mar. 6) .
midterms due Monday, March 6. Gender and informal logic as a martial
art. Wing Chun, Ng Mui, Brurria. Read Genderspeak
Chs. 1-2. Gender,
semantics, and body language. Optional
short writing assignment #i due Friday March 10: Using
your reading notes and the books' indexes, compare Elgin's treatment of
these issues with the discussions of body language in Medley and de Becker.
Chs. 3-4. PROJECT PROPOSALS DUE MARCH 10.
Week #10 (of Mar. 13) )
Elgin's basic forms, Satir modes and defusing hostility; sensory modes
and enhancing communication. Read Genderspeak, Chs. 5-6.
NO CLASSES 3/ 20 -
3/24 Spring Break.
Week 11: (of Mar. 27):
Metaphors and traffic - the healthy conversation and how it works and.
Chs. 8-9. Verbal abuse and violence, the problem
of sexual harassment. Read
Genderspeak, Chs. 10-11. Read Medley,
ch. 11. Read and print a copy of the executive summary of Le
Moyne's policy (http://www.lemoyne.edu/campus_services/human_resources/executiv.htm_).
writing #6 due Friday, March 31: What do these discussions have in
common? How do they differ? Which is most valuable to you?
Week 12 (of Apr. 3)
Spatio-temporal breakdowns in communication - inside and out. Bridge building.
Read Genderspeak Chs. 12-14. Review Carnegie. Discussion: What do
Carnegie and Elgin teach us about informal logic as self-defense? How can
we practice what we have learned? WRITTEN PROJECTS DUE: FRIDAY,
Weeks 13-15 (Apr.
10 - Apr. 28)
Student presentations on projects. These will
take about 15-20 minutes per student, depending on the number of people
presenting. Students who are unable to do their individual presentations
at the scheduled time will need to schedule a make-up presentation.
Short writing assignment
#7 due April 14: List the five assigned texts. Give a brief
description of each one. What do you think each author thinks is
the most important issue s/he presents? Why? (Make an extra copy
of this if you want to do next week's optional assignment.)
Optional short writing
assignment #ii due April 21. Of the issues discussed in class,
the texts, and in student presentations (so far, including your own), what
do you think is the most important thing you learned in this class?
Short writing assignment
#9 due April 28: What progress have you made with respect to the
goals you described in the first short writing assignment? Support
Week 16. May. 1, last
day of class. MAKE-UP PRESENTATIONS: LAST DAY OF CLASS.. TBA
As time permits: An extra lecture on the use of stories in arguments, some
connections between rhetoric and poetics. Evaluations (unless previously
Some of this page's links:
page's online address is http://webserver.lemoyne.edu/~kagan/ils00.htm
to other materials relevant for informal logic and critical thinking