Reasoning in the Sciences
The concepts, methods, and limitations involved in the systematic procedures of empirical inquiry in the sciences and in ordinary thought, e.g., probability, measurement, causal relations, statistical inference, the concepts of “law” and “theory.”
Prerequisites: Completion of GE Section A.1 (Analytical Reasoning/Expository Writing); Either GE Section A.3 (Mathematics) or MATH 210.
This course satisfies the Critical Thinking component of the Basic Skill section of the General Education Program, which recognizes critical reasoning as a fundamental competence. Courses in this section of General Education take reasoning itself as their focus. This course in particular examines inductive logic and focuses on the concept of probability in scientific reasoning. After learning methods of reasoning in genuine scientific inquiry, we apply critical thinking stills by investigating marginal cases and pseudoscience.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS and METHODS OF EVALUATION:
1. Exam 1 (30%) --The exam includes multiple choice, true/false questions and short answers to logical problems.
2. Quizzes (30%) –There are approximately 8 quizzes. You are allowed to drop the lowest quiz grade. The remainder will be averaged for 30% of your final grade. Quizzes provide continuous feedback on the course material and prepare you for the exams.
3. Participation/Attendance (10%) --Attendance will be taken at each class session. Participation will be judged on the basis of your willingness to take an active role in the class, e.g., response to exercises and discussion of lecture material.
4. Exam 2 (30%) --Comprehensive but focusing attention on the last half of the course material. The second exam covers propositional logic that involves basic concepts learned throughout the course. There is no Final Exam in the course.