Logic and Legal Reasoning – GOVT 215

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 11/09/2021

Course Description

This course introduces pre-law students to the role of basic deductive and inductive logic in the context of legal reasoning, including the application of legal rules and the application of precedents. This course is ideal for students who plan to attend law school. It will explain the basic logic involved in the LSAT exam, as well as introduce students to the types of reasoning and argumentation encountered in the study of law. 

For information regarding prerequisites for this course, please refer to the Academic Course Catalog.

Rationale

The purpose of the course is to equip the student to think like a lawyer by training him or her in basic legal logic.  The student will be able to identify deductive and inductive reasoning and will learn about the Socratic Method and the various forms of fallacies.  The student will also learn to use legal reasoning to form cogent and persuasive legal arguments.  It is important that the pre-law student studies logic and legal reasoning because it will prepare him or her for the rigorous intellectual engagement that will be experienced in law school. 

Measurable Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Describe the differences between basic deductive and inductive logic.
  2. Identify the formal techniques of evaluating legal arguments and deductive systems.
  3. Apply legal rules and precedent to decision making and critical thinking.
  4. Formulate reasoned and cogent legal arguments. 

Course Assignment

Textbook readings and presentations

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in the Course Overview.

Discussions (2)

Discussions are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student will create a thread in response to the provided prompt for each Discussion. Each thread must be 350–500 words and demonstrate course-related knowledge. In addition to the thread, the student will reply to the threads of at least 2 classmates. Each reply must be 150–300 words. For each thread and reply, the student must support his or her assertions by including at least 1 citation from the textbook, 1 citation from the Bible, and 1 citation from an additional scholarly source. Current APA format must be used for all citations and reference sections.

Thesis and Introduction Revision Assignment

The student will revise an introductory paragraph from a research paper. The provided paragraph will include a thesis statement that contains an argument. The student will revise the paragraph so that it is logically coherent in accordance with the guidelines set forth in the assigned Learn items.

Newspaper Opinion Editorial Critique Assignment

The student will read an opinion editorial of his or her choice from a respected news source and will write a response of at least 2 pages summarizing the argument, identifying fallacies in the argument, critiquing the argument, and explaining how the argument could be improved.

Socratic Method Reading Checklist Assignment

The student will read the Brown v. Board of Education case and complete a written reading checklist based on the Socratic Method.

Identifying Argument in Case Assignment

The student will read the Brown v. Board of Education case and write a 2–3 page response identifying the categorical syllogism, the major premise, and the minor premise and explaining how the premises and conclusion were determined.  The student will also discuss whether the court's reasoning was logical. 

Quizzes

The student will complete three quizzes throughout the course.  The quizzes will cover the  material for the assigned Module: Week. The quizzes will be open-book/open-notes, allow 1 attempt, and will have a variety of questions.