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See the University at Buffalo Philosophy Department for complete course schedule. •
Phi
115 Critical Thinking This course focuses on objectivity, intellectual integrity and intellectual independence. It concerns concepts, principles, methods, and skills which contribute to people’s ability to arrive for themselves at beliefs capable of withstanding objective critical evaluation. Thinking critically involves application of criteria (standards and testing procedures) to conclusions (whether one's own or those of others) as well as to the procedures by which those conclusions became established as beliefs. Critical thinking helps people to avoid fallacies in their own thinking, to identify fallacies in the thinking of others, to confidently appreciate their own intellectual successes and to identify and benefit from the intellectual achievement of others. Critical thinking is inseparable from critical reading and critical writing. Basic topics: definition and criterion, persuasion and proof, truth and knowledge, certainty and cautious confidence, convention and fact, education and indoctrination, suspension of belief and jumping to conclusions, deduction and induction, prediction and postdiction, hypothesis and theorem, implication and inference, evidence and proof, consistency and truth, lexical and structural ambiguity, fallacies of acceptance and fallacies of rejection, false positives and false negatives, metaphor and analogy, effective and inept uses of redundancy, paradox and reductio ad absurdum, heuristics and apodictics, precision and vagueness, syntax and semantics, object language and metalanguage, use and mention, direct and indirect reasoning, hypotheticodeductive method, semiotic triangle, intension and extension. Prerequisites: NONE. Required Books: Westphal, Certainty, 2) Cohen & Nagel, Intro. to Logic, 3) Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary or American Heritage College Dictionary Phi 215 Introduction to Deductive Logic Human
beings exercised inherent ability to reason correctly and to detect fallacies
long before logic was a science. Logic is an ongoing attempt to describe
and to reduce to theory a set of human "practices" (methods
and skills). Practice necessarily preceded theory, but practice can be
made more efficient and more reliable by attention to theory. Logic can
be seen to emerge through pursuit of two questions: What is proof? How
can a "proof" go wrong? No "symbolic logic" but some symbols will be used to save time and energy. All symbols will be thoroughly explained. No Prerequisites. This is a lecture course with collateral readings mainly from Cohen and Nagel , Intro. to Logic. (Talking Leaves and University Bookstore). Every student will need a quality fullsize college dictionary, e.g. MerriamWebster's New Collegiate Dictionary. Optional: (1) Quines, Quidditties, (2) Ogilvy & Anderson, Excursions into Number Theory. Weekly reports. Homework. Notes. Quizzes (announced and unannounced). Two (2) halfterm exams (no final exam). Phi 517 Introduction to Logic for Advanced Students The
course provides the advanced student with background concepts, goals and
results of modern mathematical and philosophical logic in sufficient breadth
and depth so that the student will be qualified (1) to use logic in doctoral
research (in philosophy, linguistics, cognitive science, etc.), (2) to
teach beginning logic courses and (3) to pursue more advanced courses
having logic as a prerequisite. The intended audience includes intellectually
mature graduate students with little or no previous logic and more advanced
students seeking mastery of fundamentals. No prerequisitesbut graduatelevel intellectual maturity and interest presupposed. Mathematical maturity not required: no deep metatheorems will be proved. Optional
Books (available on Lockwood Reserve, from the UB Bookstore and
from Talking Leaves) include the following: This seminar focuses on the background, skills, and methods involved in reading the classic articles that have come to constitute the textual foundation of modern logic. Here logic is construed, first narrowly, as the study of the underlying logics of the various mathematical sciences and, then more broadly, as the study of the ontic and epistemic presuppositions of mathematical practice. Most graduate students who intend to do doctoral research in logic, or in logicrelated fields, will need much of this material. Prerequisites: B or better in one graduate logic course. Required
books: Optional
Books: 


