Rowan University
Ellen Miller, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor

Department of Philosophy & Religion
Rowan University
Glassboro, NJ 08028
Office: B
unce Hall
Office Phone:  856-256-4835

Dr. Ellen Miller
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Click Here for Assignments

Logic of Everyday Reasoning


Click Here for Web Links

Current Announcements for Logic of Everyday Reasoning Fall 2003:

Final Exam, Review Sheet

Details on Fallacies to Help you Study

Fallacy Game Answers--Click Here

·  See Websites above for Links to News Media and Advertisements 


·  Ethics Notes

· Answers for Chapter Three Homework from Text

 · Answers for Homework, Chapter 8

·  Handout Answers from Wednesday's Class--Click Here

·  Quiz Review, Chapter 1 (Due Monday)--Click

· Fallacy Game #1

· Group Projects--Guidelines

Logic of Everyday Reasoning: Spring 2004

Dr. Ellen Miller         

Office:  Bunce Hall 321, Third Floor Department of Philosophy and Religion

Phone:  256-4835 (leave a return number if you call!)



Course Description and Objectives

Have you ever wished that you were better at arguing and reasoning? Do you wish you had the technical vocabulary to explain why you find a politician or advertiser’s claims faulty and unconvincing? Are you beginning to realize that reasoning skills and the ability to cogently express your ideas are vital in the workplace and classroom? Do you want to increase your ability to understand viewpoints that differ from your own? If so, then this is the course for you!

The purpose of this course is to help you develop your reasoning skills so that you can think about and communicate intelligently on the issues that concern you. Our main focus will be on the nature and use of arguments, with the goal that the student will learn to both criticize the arguments of others and also construct valid and convincing arguments of his or her own.

This course will focus on developing critical thinking and reasoning patterns for use by the individual to more effectively express his or her viewpoint, to better identify and rebut faulty logic, and to aid in the logical presentation of ideas.

We will examine reasoning found in a variety of contexts including the media and moral reasoning. One overall goal is to learn about major aspects of informal logic and see how these skills can help us better understand ethical dilemmas. We are building towards an examination of major philosophical approaches to ethics. The language and vocabulary you acquire this year will help you better articulate your own positions on ethical arguments and debates.

If you have a disability which may require assistance or accommodations, or you have questions related to any accommodations for testing, note takers, readers, etc..., please speak with me as soon as possible.

I. Required Text (Available at Rowan University Bookstore: Phone 256-4660)

1. The Elements of Reasoning. David A. Conway and Ronald Munson, Wadsworth Publishers. (ER)  A great book for introductory logic! Not the most entertaining book ever written (I know it’s not Stephen King). Don’t let that discourage you though! We will try to make class entertaining! So—show up!!!

2. Photocopied Readings on the Media and Moral Reasoning—Provided by instructor

Important Note: There are web links posted on the course web page that you will find useful. Please use these to supplement your reading. I also encourage you to stay informed about current ethical and moral debates going on in the world. Pick up Newsweek, Time, any good newspaper, read the NY Times on the web to stay informed about issues that matter to you in medicine, law, sports, religion, education, family issues…


II. Assignments and Grading


Due Date

Percentage of Grade


Class Presentations: Philosophy Today!

Various: End of Term


Topics picked by students

Four Quizzes

Various. You will be informed ahead of time

30% (10% each)

* In-Class.

* Lowest grade            dropped.

* No make-up quizzes

Participation/Attendance/Group Work



 Look alive in class! Look excited! Be excited! I notice these things and care about them!!

Final Exam

See Final Exam Univ.




You can bring one notecard with you

There will be a review for the exam in class


Exam content to follow

 III: Academic Honesty Policy

All forms of academic dishonesty, namely, cheating on exams, submitting plagiarized or fabricated work from another person’s book or web-site, submitting another person’s work without informing the instructor, or engaging in any kind of deception that would bear on the evaluation of submitted work will be dealt with in a strict manner. If you find yourself thinking about submitting work that is not your own due to pressure, frustration, or perfectionism, please come talk to me. I am here to help you resolve these issues before they become a problem for your academic career at Rowan and beyond.

 IV. Attendance, Lateness, and Class Policies

·         Please arrive for class on-time! I don’t like lateness!

·         If you are late, you owe us candy or snack of your choice for that class or our next meeting (this goes for the professor as well!) I can be bribed with chocolate (just kidding!…Just making sure you’re reading this syllabus carefully)

·         Please turn off cell-phones, pagers, and beepers before class

·         More than 3 unexcused absences will result in grade depreciation

·         In order to enhance student learning, please do not engage in side conversations during class. Please do contribute to class though!! I do love participation more than chocolate!

 V. Late Work and Exams

Students are responsible for assignments, homework, group work missed due to illness. Please check with instructor or classmate concerning assignments given during missed classes. Please check the web-site regularly, especially if you miss class. I suggest swapping numbers/emails with one person in class so you have someone else to touch base with throughout the semester.

Students are responsible for all scheduled and announced quizzes, in-class work and assignments.

Quizzes cannot be made up (you can miss one and have that be your dropped grade). The exam cannot be made up except where students have a good reason. What constitutes a good reason (that’s what this course is all about—so make it good)? Any unforeseeable event which physically prevents you from making it to the exam. If you know you’re going to miss the exam, let me know before the exam date. You should treat these dates as you would going to work. School is not different from work. If you’re in the business of missing work, that’s a whole other story…Don’t do it!

Homework is assigned for your benefit. I will collect it randomly throughout the semester to see how things are going. Please keep all you homework and I will grade your portfolio as part of your participation grade if you choose. This is not high school, so it’s up to you how you approach homework. I will call on people and ask for volunteers to answer homework questions during class.

Class participation counts a lot for your grade (can be the deal breaker for borderline grades) and I have a great memory. You have total control over this part of your grade. Take advantage of that. That’s one of the reasons I count participation and homework. Not everyone loves quizzes and tests, so I like to give you different grades to help you. My goal is for everyone to do really well in my class!!! I will do everything in my power to make that possible!

VI. Calendar: Subject to change according to class needs—Please stay informed about revisions


Reading Assignment (Reading Assignments are to be done before class)


Assignments are to be done before class)


 Course Introductions

 Assign homework


ER: Chapter 1: Recognizing Arguments

Homework: Exercises

announced in class




Feb 2

 Review for Quiz


Feb 4

Quiz on Chapter 1


Feb 9

Ch 2: Analyzing Arguments












Review Chapter 2



Quiz Chapter 2


Mar 1


Read Packet distributed before class

Mar 3

Ethics and Media Analysis

 These sections should be incorporated into your group presentations and individual write-ups for your presentations

Mar 8

Chapter 8: Logical Fallacies



Media Analysis



No Classes: Spring Break



No Classes: Spring Break



Chapter 8, Continued



Review Chapter 8



 Quiz Chapter 8



Chapter Three: Evaluating Arguments 


Apr 5

 Chapter Three


Apr 7

 Quiz on Chapter 3

Meet with Groups


Review Ch 3



Quiz on Chapter 3



Ethics, In-Class Activity



Class Presentations Begin



Class Presentations



Class Presentations


May 3

Review for Final Exam

You can bring one note card with you to the exam

I hope this class will be productive, rewarding, and fun! I look forward to sharing my love of logic and ethics with you throughout the semester!