Philosophy 410

Advanced Critical Thinking

Winter Quarter, 2006

Instructor: Dr. Loren R. Schmidt

Telephone: 865-8542, Ext. 3715 (Work); 574-8486 (Home)

E-Mail: or

Office: 712 North Bldg.

Office Hours: TBA or by appointment

Time and Place: MW 6:00-8:00 p.m. in Yakima or via Internet (Class Forums on Heritage College Virtual Campus).

Text: A First Course in Logic by K. Codell Carter (NY: Pearson/Longman, 2005) plus several Supreme Court decisions (links will be provided online). Text available at or through Heritage Online Bookstore.

1. Students who have NOT taken Philosophy 210 or another logic course should read the Introduction and Chapter 1 and do the following exercises: 1.1 #1-24 (answers in the back of the book) and then challenge yourself with 25-30; 1.3 #1-10 (all in the back); 1.5 any three of these; 1.6 #1-5 (all in the back).

2. Students who HAVE taken Philosophy 210 or another logic course should read the Introduction and then try to work ALL of the problems in the LSAT section on p. 51. If you do not understand some of them, contact me and tell me which ones.

Elements of Evaluation


Course Policies

Course Description and Objectives:

Advanced Critical Thinking aims at further developing students’ ability to apply the techniques of logic and critical thinking to real-world contexts. Students will combine review of those techniques with exercises training them to answer the types of questions typically seen on the Law Schools Admission Test (LSAT) and Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and close reading of real-life written arguments, particularly the complex reasoning seen in U.S. Supreme Court opinions on controversial social and political issues such as capital punishment, abortion, and affirmative action.

Students exiting the course should have improved the following skills:

1. Recognition of fallacies.

2. Recognition of rhetorical patterns of argument in context.

3. Composition and analysis of definitions of terms.

4. Analysis and solution of simple and complex (multi-stage) problems using the techniques of informal and formal logic.

5. Oral and written analysis of complex texts such as U.S. Supreme Court opinions, noting the assumptions, strengths, and weaknesses of arguments presented on both sides of the issue.

6. Preparation for LSAT and GRE Critical Thinking Tests.

© Dr. Loren R. Schmidt, 2004-2006
No part of this syllabus may be used or reproduced
in any manner whatsoever without written permission.