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Course Requirements


Your course grade is based upon your homework, quizzes, and tests. The homework, quizzes, and tests generally require thinking through abstract issues carefully.

Quizzes are short papers or objective questions written in class on a specific inductive problem or argument. The quiz topic is announced in advance of the quiz day, and the topic has been thoroughly explored in a previous class. Your Quiz Average is based on your best ten of twelve grades taken from your homework assignments and in-class quizzes. In general, you are not notified in advance which homework assignments are handed in; hence, you should attempt all assignments. Late homework assignment are not accepted since student solutions are discussed in class. Two of these grades are dropped before averaging in order to allow for normal required student absences and avoid the problems of scheduling make-up quizzes. For this reason, there are no make-ups for missed Quizzes or missed homework.

The Philosophical Problem of the Week Option requires independent inquiry. The problem can be solved by delving deeply into a complex philosophical issue. The problem is posed each Monday on my office door and is due at the beginning of the last class of the week. No late problems of the week are accepted because student solutions are discussed in class. Attempting these problems is wholly optional since they require highly original and creative critical thinking. You may choose to do all, some or none of them. The grade received for any problem attempted may be substituted for a quiz grade.

Tests are usually a combination of the use of key concepts and methods. They are based on questions from the reading assignments, but unlike the quizzes, the tests are neither based on memorized facts nor based on objective information derived from memorized arguments. Instead, the emphasis given in tests is on the operation and active transformation or manipulation of the concepts learned. Some examples of the difference between the figurative knowledge used in quizzes and the operational knowledge used in tests are given in Appendix A of this syllabus. Some particularly difficult optional questions in specific fields are often given in order to specifically challenge students majoring in those fields.

Evaluation of Your Course Grade, as a whole, is based equally on the following five factors:

  • Test 1: Arguments, Explanation, Deduction, and Induction
  • Test 2: Definitions and Common Fallacies in Science
  • Test 3: Analogy and Causal Connections
  • Test 4: The Patterns of Scientific Investigation
  • Quiz Average (based on ten highest quizzes, homework, and/or problems of the week)

Grade Evaluation: Your final course grade is assigned according to your final average.

  • An A (above 90 points) reflects approximately three to four hours of study per class period and represents a great deal of time, thought, and effort .
  • A B (above 80 but below 90 points) reflects approximately two hours of study per class period and represents above average time, thought and effort.
  • A C (above 70 but below 80 points) reflects approximately one hour study per class period and represents average time, thought, and effort.
  • A D (above 60 but below 70 points) reflects cramming for examinations and represents minimum time, thought, and effort.
  • An F (below 60 points) reflects very little time, thought, and effort and represents below college level work.
  • An FA reflects attending fewer that 75% of class meetings.
  • An INC can only be given in cases of sudden illness or emergency.


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