Principles of Reasoning (2021): Study Guide

Below is a list of student learning objectives for each week. In each exam, you will be tested only on these objectives, so this page serves as a study guide for the exams. This page will be updated periodically to reflect our progress in the course. In order to keep up with the course, by the end of each week, you should be able to do the tasks listed.

If you have any question, don’t hesitate to email me at (or through the email tool on Blackboard).

By the end of each week below, you should be able to what is listed. The lectures and the questions given in the lectures are designed to help you achieve these objectives. So be sure to review the lectures and do the questions to test your mastery.

Week 1

  1. Define inference, reasoning, argument, premises, and conclusion.
  2. Give examples of reasoning and unconscious inference.
  3. Present reasoning in the standard form of an argument as discussed in the lecture.

Week 2

  1. Give an example of reasoning in decision making.
  2. Define the framing effect, and give an example.
  3. Reconstruct possible answers to the disease problem in the standard form of an argument. (See Question 1 at the end of this week’s lecture.)
  4. Reconstruct examples of reasoning in the Kid Logic episode in the standard form of an argument. (See Questions 8 and 9.)
  5. Define a cognitive bias, and explain why the framing effect in the disease problem counts as a cognitive bias.
  6. Define validity and invalidity. Give examples of valid and invalid arguments.
  7. Use the method of counterexamples to show that a given argument is invalid. (See Question 13.)
  8. Define the belief bias.

Week 3

  1. Use the method of counterexamples to show the invalidity of arguments. (See examples given in the lecture.)
  2. Describe Type 1 and Type 2 processes according to the dual process theory (as formulated by Evans and Stanovich).
  3. Briefly explain the idea of cognitive decoupling as it is used in the description of Type 2 processes. (One well-chosen sentence would suffice.)

Exam 1 covers Weeks 1–3.

Week 4

  1. Explain the distinguishing features of deductive reasoning.
  2. Explain the distinguishing features of inductive reasoning.
  3. Explain the meaning of the term “follow from” (as in “this conclusion follows from the premises”).
  4. Explain the meaning of the term “entailment.”
  5. Define soundness.
  6. Define inductive strength.
  7. Define reliability.

Week 5

  1. State the three things that make up a formal system.
  2. Prove the MEOW-validity of arguments, using MEOW. (You don’t have to memorize the rules of inference of MEOW. But you will have to memorize everything about SL.)
  3. Distinguish simple and complex strings of SL.
  4. Distinguish strings and non-strings of SL.
  5. Symbolize elementary English sentences into SL.