Reasoning and Problem Solving
Philosophy 144
Counseling 144
 Course Information

Reasoning and Problem Solving
as presented by Mike Monge

Have you ever doubted what someone told you?

Has a teacher ever told you anything which you didn't accept?

Have you ever wondered where all the information in your textbooks comes from?

Have you ever tried to convince someone of some fact when they were skeptical?

Have you ever been frustrated the way things were going, and thought about how to change things?

If so, then you have begun to engage in reasoning and problem solving.


Reasoning is one of the fundamental skills required in all of academia. It is used in every academic discipline. Moreover, you use (or should use) reasoning in your everyday life. Taking a reasoning course can mark the transition from being a student who justs accepts what your teachers tell you and a scholar who begins to add to the world's knowledge. Reasoning is the process of examining how and when we should change our opinions. Obviously, you should not believe everything you read or hear. But when should you accept what you've been told, when should you reject it, and when should you realize that you don't have enough information to form any judgment at all? The study of Reasoning begins to answer these questions.

What you will learn in this course:

Expect to do some writing in this course. There is no other efficient way for you to show me that you have learned the skills required to evaluate arguments.

It is possible to get an A in this course, but it will take hard work. In Fall 2011 when I taught one class at Long Beach City College, my grade distribution was as follows:

 Number of Students
23 %
10 %
 total completed

You should know that most of the students who received F's (5) didn't withdraw themselves from the course before the deadline, but stopped attending class. I have also revised the weight of homework, so that it counts more heavily in your grade. That means that it is easier to get an A--if you do the homework assignments. Every class is different of course, so there is no guarantee that any particular course will follow this same grade distribution, but I expect most classes to be similar. Your grade will depend on your work, of course, but this table may give you an idea of what is typical.

Critical Thinking and Persuasive Argument

The book I am currently using is Critical Thinking: A Student's Introduction, by Bassham, et al. Click on the link or the picture to go to the publisher's website to get more information on the book and its contents.

I hope to see you in my class!