This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Teaching Argument Evaluation In An Introductory Philosophy Course

3617 words - 14 pages

Teaching Argument Evaluation in An Introductory Philosophy Course

ABSTRACT: One of the greatest challenges in teaching an introductory philosophy course is convincing students that there are, indeed, reliable standards for the evaluation of arguments. Too often introductory students criticize an argument simply by contesting the truth of one of its claims. And far too often, the only claim in an argument that meets serious objections is its conclusion. For many students, the idea that an argument displays a structure which can be evaluated on its own terms is not very difficult to grasp. Unfortunately, the idea is grasped only in an abstract way, with insufficient appreciation of how structural problems manifest themselves in concrete arguments, and without the vocabulary for formulating structural criticisms. But this paper is not simply about teaching logic, it is about pedagogy. Our task is to instill in the student the habit of clear thinking. When we send our students out into the world, we have to ensure that they are prepared for it.

Introduction

One of the greatest challenges in teaching an introductory philosophy course is convincing students that there are, indeed, reliable standards for the evaluation of arguments. Too often introductory students criticise an argument simply by contesting the truth of one of its claims. And far too often the only claim in an argument that meets serious objections is its conclusion. For many students, the idea that an argument displays a structure which can be evaluated on its own terms is not very difficult to grasp; unfortunately, the idea is grasped only in an abstract way, with insufficient appreciation of how structural problems manifest themselves in concrete arguments, and without the vocabulary for formulating structural criticisms.

But this paper is not simply about teaching logic — it's about pedagogy. The introductory philosophy student's inability to recognize argument structure presents us with a problem that cannot be addressed simply by "teaching logic." The problem that confronts us addresses a fundamental pedagogical concern: Our task is to instill in the student the habit of clear thinking. When we send our students out into the world, we have to make sure that they're prepared for it. This is not simply a matter of providing them with "tools." We've looked at logic that way — and we've approached teaching logic that way — for far too long. Certainly logic may be employed as a tool; it can serve as an incredibly powerful tool, as we who teach it know full well. But it's not logic per se that we should be concerned with in our introductory courses. We want to teach our students how to think clearly and responsibly. There is certainly a moral edge to this view of the situation, and the manner in which we approach our pedagogical concern will not be without further philosophical prejudice. Ours is Aristotelian. We have found that giving our students the basics of term logic...

Find Another Essay On Teaching Argument Evaluation in An Introductory Philosophy Course

Statement of Teaching Philosophy, and My Experience Teaching Chemistry in India

935 words - 4 pages Statement of Teaching Philosophy “A teacher can never truly teach unless he is still learning himself. A lamp can never light another lamp unless it continues to burn its own flame. The teacher who has come to the end of his subject, who has no living traffic with his knowledge but merely repeats his lesson to his students, can only load their minds, he cannot quicken them.” … Rabindranath Tagore (Nobel prize in literature in 1913) This is

An Argument in Opposition of Education Vouchers

1777 words - 7 pages An Argument in Opposition of Education Vouchers Why would anyone wish to withhold support for a program that has the potential to revolutionize the, often, insufficient American education system? This question has undoubtedly entered the mind of proponents of education voucher systems across the country. However, despite the pressure placed on legislators everywhere, close scrutiny of the real issues should not be clouded by public fervor

An Argument Against Citigroup in China

2287 words - 9 pages An Argument Against Citigroup in China Chinese regulations have historically limited the operations of foreign banks, but with the

How to get an A in a course

582 words - 2 pages I am sure that many students have always asked this question at least once in there school life, "How do I get an A in a course". The answer is simple and it is broken down into three steps. First, make sure that you always do your homework and hand in assignments on time. Second, always pay attention in class and take sufficient notes in that class. Finally always be to class on time and try not to miss a single class. By following these three

An Argument in favor of Governmental Intervention regarding Population Control

1663 words - 7 pages nature had taken its course. As we look towards the end of the decade, this is a large number. This presents a severe deterioration in natural resources, a rise in crime and broadens the gap between wealth and poverty, as well as supply and demand.As we all may or may not know, each woman is born with a limited number of eggs. Males produce sperm over their lifetime. My suggestion is that the government surgically limits the number of eggs in each

An Examination of Leadership Evaluation in a Correctional Facility

1208 words - 5 pages . Some job descriptions listing for warden mandatory the comprehension of institutional behavior and psychology which is essential for understanding the exceptional tasks of treating offenders. A job that requires such intense scrutinize should be evaluated by the proper authority in this next section this author will conduct an overview of the evaluation form for a prison warden. Secondly, this author will identify if they are any gaps in the

An Evaluation of Imperialism in 19th Century Europe

1414 words - 6 pages imperialist philosophy was William Clark, an Englishman who wrote “The Genesis of Jingoism.” William Clark stressed that capitalism was, at least for the moment, strengthened by the chauvinism that characterized the era of imperialism. William Clark also noted that the “imperial heroes” who everyone was encouraged to support were actually financed and supported by financiers who had economic interests in the region (Doc. 7). Unfortunately, this

Introduction to Philosophy: an essay that offers my own answers to 6 major questions in philosophy

1922 words - 8 pages Is belief in God rational?Both science and religion depend on each other as they try to answer the same question of whether God exists. The definition of "rational" involves clear and vivid thinking, complete and accurate information, and no faulty conditioning.What is belief? Everyone has a belief system, whether they're Christians or not. Everyone has some sort of personal philosophy. The question is, is it a good one? To "believe" that we do

Philosophy of Knowledge; David Hume's "The Origin of Our Ideas and Skepticism about Causal Reasoning" and "An Argument Against Skepticism," by John Hospers

529 words - 2 pages David Hume's "The Origin of Our Ideas and Skepticism about Causal Reasoning" states his beliefs about knowledge and his idea that we can only have relative certainty of truth. Skeptics concur that there is not enough evidence to predict the future or prove truth. In "An Argument Against Skepticism," John Hospers argues that we can have absolute certainty because there is enough evidence from the past and from our own experiences to prove an

What Does It Take to Succeed in an Internet-based College Course?

692 words - 3 pages the characteristics or skills which will aid the student. The major difference between an internet-based course and one presented in a traditional face to face environment is the physical isolation of the student. This isolation has a number of consequences. Firstly, there is less opportunity to get direct feedback to queries. In a lecture or seminar a student will, at least in principle, have the opportunity to seek immediate advice if

Ginzburg on Trial: An Argument in Defense of Historian Carlo Ginzburg

1574 words - 7 pages wealthier family and educated even more than he already was, the “gaps” in his cosmology would probably be filled by more academic, formal teaching rather than the popular oral culture. Ginzburg’s clever analysis of Menocchio’s readings is his strongest argument, an opinion even shared by those who reject the basic logic of his argument. However, some critics have noted issues with Ginzburg’s methodology that should be addressed. The issues are not

Similar Essays

Teaching Philosophy As Education And Evaluation Of Thinking

3188 words - 13 pages ABSTRACT: Teaching philosophy and critical thinking is one of the main ways to clearly reaffirm the value of human persons and of goodness and freedom. It is not sufficient to propose a philosophical message, but we must teach it systematically (curriculum) with a real synergy between teachers and parents. We must also build a curriculum, which includes an evaluation model based on clear goals and objectives: the intermediate and final

Argument In An Essay

1029 words - 4 pages Argument can be defined as claim or thesis statement. The aim of an argument is to convince audience. It is essential to make sound argument so that audience could engage in and align with the author’s view. Therefore, one of the key elements could be identified as the awareness of audience. Another key element is evidence. In order to persuade audience, argument should be consolidated through evidence and authority. The credibility of author

Evaluation Of Computer Usage In Teaching Arabic Language

9700 words - 39 pages conducted using a quasi-experimentalposttest-only control group design. Statistical procedures were used to pretest the data to determine randomness of the groups. Two information systems courses were used to testeach study medium. An introductory business course in information systems and an advanced course in which all students would have computer experience were used to test each study medium. This experiment was conducted at a public university

Teaching An Applied Critical Thinking Course: How Applied Can We Get?

3238 words - 13 pages Teaching an Applied Critical Thinking Course: How Applied Can We Get? ABSTRACT: Encouraging students to apply classroom knowledge in their personal, everyday life is a major problem confronting many teachers of critical thinking. For example, while a student might recognize an ad hominem argument in a classroom exercise, it is quite another thing for him or her to avoid the same in interpersonal relations, say with parents, siblings, and