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Prospectus

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Introduction to Logic & Epistemology

Course
2020-2021

Admission requirements

None.

Description

This course provides students with an overview of certain tools of logic and epistemology that will equip them to generate more persuasive arguments, understand practical and historical-scientific uses and developments of logic and epistemology, and navigate the world generally in a more critical way.

We will first explore principles of good arguments and the most common informal logical fallacies that threaten them. Students will learn to identify and articulate fallacies while picking up tools that guard against them (such as using the notion of a family resemblance concept to better spot fallacies of equivocation). Students may consider philosophical challenges to fallacies as traditionally conceived. For example, is one always guilty of a genetic fallacy when appealing to the history of a concept, or is the history of a concept internal to its logic?

Students will then be introduced to formal expressions of logic in the form of basic sentential logic. Students will learn to use the connectives, basic rules of inference, and the construction of truth tables.

Students will approach epistemology by exploring the classical scheme of justified true beliefs and its modern critics (e.g., Gettier and Wittgenstein). Students will come to appreciate how the concept of 'seeing-as' sabotages common-sense ways of understanding how we relate to the empirical world as well as how it makes more clear historical changes in scientific understanding (as deployed by Hanson). Finally, students will be exposed to the variety of genres of epistemology, such as virtue epistemology and epistemologies of ignorance.

Course Objectives

  • Inculcate an introductory understanding of certain kinds of basic formal and informal logic.

  • Support everyday critical thinking skills (such as in the critical consumption of media and assessment of public debates).

  • Learn to appreciate the complexity and diversity of epistemological issues involved in any human knowledge endeavor.

Timetable

Timetables for courses offered at Leiden University College in 2020-2021 will be published on this page of the e-Prospectus.

Mode of instruction

Lectures, groupwork, and readings.

Assessment Method

  • Final Paper (1000-1500 words): 20%

  • Quizzes (4): 20%

  • Logic exam (in class): 15%

  • Epistemology exam (take home): 15%

  • Reading/class responses (10): 20%

  • Class participation: 10%

Reading list

Readings will be linked on Brightspace.

Registration

Courses offered at Leiden University College (LUC) are usually only open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Leiden University students who participate in one of the university’s Honours tracks or programmes may register for one LUC course, if availability permits. Registration is coordinated by the Education Coordinator, course.administration@luc.leidenuniv.nl.

Contact

Ryan van Nood, rvannood@purdue.edu

Remarks

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