How to Reason Deductively
Think Again: How to Reason and Argue Reasoning is important. This series of four short courses will teach you how to do it well. You will learn simple but vital rules to follow in thinking about any topic at all and common and tempting mistakes to avoid in reasoning. We will discuss how to identify, analyze, and evaluate arguments by other people (including politicians, used car salesmen, and teachers) and how to construct arguments of your own in order to help you decide what to believe or what to do. These skills will be useful in dealing with whatever matters most to you. Courses at a Glance: All four courses in this series are offered through sessions which run every four weeks. We suggest sticking to the weekly schedule to the best of your ability. If for whatever reason you fall behind, feel free to re-enroll in the next session.We also suggest that you start each course close to the beginning of a month in order to increase the number of peers in the discussion forums who are working on the same material as you are. While each course can be taken independently, we suggest you take the four courses in order. Course 1 - Think Again I: How to Understand Arguments Course 2 - Think Again II: How to Reason Deductively Course 3 - Think Again III: How to Reason Inductively Course 4 - Think Again IV: How to Avoid Fallacies About This Course in the Series: Imagine that a friend denies that modus ponens is a valid form of argument. Can you prove that it is valid without using modus ponens itself and thereby assuming that it is valid? If so, how? If not, what does this show about the validity of modus ponens? How can phrases like "and", "or", "if", and "not" work as "truth-functional connectives"? In this course, you will learn how to evaluate deductive arguments for validity. In particular, you will learn new ways of representing the information that is contained in the premises of a deductive argument. Using these new representational devices (devices that we call "truth tables" and "Venn diagrams"), we will be able to apply rules to determine whether or not a particular deductive argument is valid. Suggested Readings: Students who want more detailed explanations or additional exercises or who want to explore these topics in more depth should consult Understanding Arguments: An Introduction to Informal Logic, Ninth Edition, Concise, Chapters 6 and 7 by Walter Sinnott-Armstrong and Robert Fogelin. Course Format: Each week will be divided into multiple video segments that can be viewed separately or in groups. There will be short ungraded quizzes after each segment (to check comprehension) and a longer graded quiz at the end of the course.