Do you want to learn how to reason better, how to THINK better? Then, this summer challenge is for you. It's free, no credit, entirely a course of study that depends on you.
The best way to do this course:
1. Get together with others who want to do the challenge.
2. Keep each other eager; encourage each other; challenge each other every day. (The world is not going to change itself!)
This course has two parts, based on the acts that are typical of the human mind:
I. Concepts and Meaning
First, you come up with a concept (like civilization, family, human nature, love, religion, power, art, Romanticism, virtue, etc.) and you combine those concepts into assertions (like "civilization is built on the family" or "religion always implies a failure of good thinking" etc.). So, we first study how to define things, how to form good concepts, how to clarify your concepts, how to spot a bad definition, how to come up with a good definition, how to be consistent and avoid vagueness, and how to understand meaning in a general way.
Second, having started with concepts and then combined them into assertions, you then reason from assertions you already know to be true (called "premises") to other assertions that must be true, given what you already know (called "conclusions"); this process of moving from premises to conclusions is reasoning or giving an argument. Instead of just studying specific arguments like "all men are mortal; Socrates is a man; therefore, Socrates is mortal", you need to master the general form of reasoning, like "all A is B". Once you've worked through and understand the general forms, only then you will be ready to use your knowledge to understand specific arguments (for example, about whether Romanticism is good or bad, etc.).
But you also have to learn how about bad reasoning (called "fallacies"). So, this course introduces you finally to the main errors in reasoning that people (including you) commit most of the time.
So, are you ready??
Look along the side and click on Part I to begin!
You have until September 15th to finish.
The Summer Challenge is this: