Fall 2005
PHL101: Critical Thinking
Lanigan Hall 104, MWF 11:15 - 12:25 p.m.
Professor: Craig DeLancey
Office: Piez Hall 225
Office Hours: MW 1:45 -- 3:15 p.m., most Fridays 1:45 -- 3:15 p.m., and by appointment Email: delancey@oswego.edu


This class is meant to teach the skills of critical thinking.

The class will have the following structure. First, we will review the goals of critical thinking. These include above all determining what claims should be believed. We will review the kinds of claims that there are and how one usually is introduced to claims. Next, we will review the methods of evaluating claims that are specific to their source. We will finish with a review of less explicit forms of belief and judgment.

If you have a disabling condition which may interfere with your ability to successfully complete this course, please contact the Disability Services Office.


There will be extensive class notes, and some online readings. There are two texts:
Harry Frankfurt, On Bullshit.
Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent.

Assignments and exams

You will have four exams, one for each our of first four topics. There will be periodic assignments and reading quizes, and a comprehensive final exam. All assignments must be done on your own. You can of course study with others and even help each other, but final work must be yours alone. A zero is give to all assignments where one is copied from another.

I regret that I will not accept assignments by email.


The raw grade will be determined in the following way:
Exams: 60% (15% each)
Assignments and quizes: 20%
Final exam: 20%
See my grading policy for an explanation of how I turn the raw grade into a final grade.

If you miss an exam and have an excused absence for the day you miss the exam, you may make it up, by special appointment with me, when you are able to come back to class. It is your responsibility to arrange any make-up exams as soon as you know you are going to miss the exam. Otherwise you may lose the opportunity to take the test, since I cannot give make-up exams after the class has gone over the answers.

Here is how you secure an excused absence: Only prior notification with credibly documented or easily verifiable reasons (e.g., medical visits to Mary Walker, documented participation in official sporting events, etc.) will result in excused absences. You must notify in writing, call, or email me prior to your absence from class. You must notify the Philosophy Dept. secretary, Jane Santore, before you are going to be absent, via email at santore@oswego.edu, or by phone at x2249. However, you must make sure she knows your name, the number of the course, the date, and your easily verifiable reason, along with a request to forward the information to me. It is better to give your information to me, except when you are unable to communicate with my phone or email for some reason.

Please hold onto all of your assignments and exams. Sometime before the end of the semester I recommend that you ask me to review the grades that I have recorded to make sure that I have not made any mistakes.

Office Hours

In addition to the listed office hours, I encourage you to make appointments. I am available quite a bit. Please try to come to office hours with specific questions in mind. You can of course come with a general request for help, but it is always helpful if you spend a little time thinking about how I can best help you out.


By the end of this class, you should know:


I will frequently update an online schedule of readings and assignments. It is your responsibility to check the www pages for the class at least every other day!