BELOW YOU WILL FIND INFORMATION ON:
Critical Thinking is an activity in which we all already engage. Most of us do it in a fairly unskilled and erratic manner. This course is aimed to help students become more reflectively aware of critical thinking and to practice some of the basic skills needed to practice it well.
Note that I say I aim:
I consciously avoid claiming that I can TEACH this skill. I believe the critical thinking "teacher" is sort of in the same position as a coach in a sport. There are basic skills which most serious players will have seen and tried, often adapting some version of these skills into their game. The coach tries to point out, even name the various skills or "moves" and then works with the players to practice the skills. But some will get them and some not, and while discipline, commitment, seriousness of purpose and such things are great virtues and help in considerable measure, critical thinking, like sports, is not something at which a teacher/coach can guarantee success.
I say a good deal more about the details of these skills in a longer essay. It is available on my course web site.
We will read a several short pieces by Corbett about various critical skills, and a three essays which are NOT about critical thinking, but which we will use for practice. I have posted all readings to my web site and you will not have any materials to purchase.
We have only 8 weeks!! Further, we are working in a medium in which all communication is in print. The work load will be quite intense, made up of many assignments, most of them relatively short. The course will be divided into 16 mini-units, each focussing on some particular skill or tactic of critical thinking.
There is no formal meeting time. Normal summer courses meet at least 3 times a week for a period of 2 hours. We will work on a schedule of two 3-day periods a week, Sunday never counted. Unit one of each week will be M-T-W. Unit two of each week will be Th-F-S (S is for Saturday).
Specific course requirements will be:
Grading: While I will grade each individual piece (some just as accepted or not accepted), the grade of the course will not be mere the sum of the individual grades. Rather, I will take into account an overall sense of quality in the general tone of one's work. However, the sum of one's individual grades will certainly be a strong indication of where one stands. Each piece, long and short alike, will carry the same relative value.
Two important additional notes:
Basically the point is: there are time deadlines. Stay with them.
|June 5-6-7||General introduction.||1||Read Corbett introduction and read Sandler paper and write two different posts on the reading. Write one response to another student's writing.|
|June 8-9-10||Recognizing the thesis; separating thesis and theme.||2||Read Corbett notes on thesis and reread Sandler paper and write three different SHORT posts on the thesis.|
|June 12-13-14||Thesis / argument structure.||3||Read Corbett notes on arguments. and write one response to Corbett's paper and an analysis of Sandler's arguments.|
|June 15-16-17||The logic of the argument and chronology.||4||Read Corbett notes on the logic of the argument.and write 3 different posts on Corbett's reading, Sandler's logic and responding to a student post.|
|June 19-20-21||Some issues in the content of James' paper.||5||Read William James' essay and write 1 post on the essay for double credit!|
|June 22-23-24||Practicing notions already introduced William James' essay.||6||Read Corbett's essay on James and write 3 different posts on the James' essay or Corbett's reflections.|
|June 26-27-28||Distinction between context of discovery and proof.||7||Read Corbett's essay on discovery vs. proof and write 2 different posts connected to it.|
|June 29- July 1||Introducing criticism: prima facie; paradigm cases; counter-arguments.||8||ReadCorbett's paper introducing skills of criticism and write 2 different posts on this essay.|
|July 3-4-5||Practicing tools of criticism already introduced.||9||Reread Corbett's essay on criticism and James' essay, The Will To Believe and write one single essay of double value.|
|July 6-7-8||Reflections on the concepts of critical thinking and uncertainty||10||Read Corbett's essay on critical thinking and uncertainty and write 2 different posts on it|
|July 10-11-12||General discussion of the content of essay by Wade Davis.||11||Read Wade Davis' essay and write 2 posts on the essay.|
|July 13-14-15||Further discussion of the content of Davis essay.||12||Read Corbett's essay on Davis and write 2 different posts on the Davis' essay.|
|July 17-18-19||Some positive tools of criticism introduced||13||ReadCorbett's essay introducing positive tools of criticism and write 2 posts on this essay.|
|July 20-21-22||Practicing tools of criticism already introduced on Davis paper.||14||Read Wade Davis' essay and write 1 post on the essay for double credit.|
|July 24-25-26||Summary, review, looking ahead toward other possibilities||15||Read Corbett's essay on "Where Next?" and write 1 post responding to him.|
|July 27-28-29||Final questions and discussion||16||Final questions from students; Corbett's replies Write 2 different posts of questions and comments.|
|My Philosophy Page||Webster U. Philosophy Department|
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Bob Corbett firstname.lastname@example.org