PHIL 202

Course Description:Critical thinking is the general term given to a wide range of cognitive skills and intellectual dispositions needed to effectively identify, analyze, and evaluate arguments and truth claims, to discover and overcome personal prejudices and biases, to formulate and present convincing reasons in support of conclusions, and to make reasonable, intelligent decisions about what to believe and what to do. As one master teacher of the subject has remarked, critical thinkers exhibit "a passionate drive for clarity, accuracy, and fair-mindedness, a fervor for getting to the bottom of things,…for listening sympathetically to opposite points of view, a compelling drive to seek out evidence, an intense aversion to contradiction, sloppy thinking, inconsistent standards, [and] a devotion to truth as against self-interest." The general aim of this course is to assist students in developing these intellectual skills and dispositions.


  • Gregory Bassham, William Irwin, Henry Nardone, and James Wallace, Critical Thinking: An Introduction, 2nd ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2004.
  • Martin, Mike, Everyday Morality, 3rd Ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 2001
  • A recent critical MLA handbook of your choice.

Assignment #1:

  • Construct the SFA for the “Got Milk” essay
    • Present the premises (evidence) first
    • Present the claim/conclusion at the end
  • Assess the merits of the evidence (Are the premises true? False?)
  • How well does the evidence support the conclusion?
  • Write #2 and #3 in paragraph style
  • Prepare a “Works Cited” page in MLA format

Assignment #2:

  • Read “Going Mad” article
  • Organize claims in SFA 
  • Produce an SFA chart
  • Prepare a “Works Cited” page in MLA format

Assignment #3:

  • Read Chapter #1 from text Critical Thinking: An Introduction, 2nd ed.

Course Syllabus