SC 205N: BS: Identifying Bias and Falsehood

Section 001, Fall 2021

Most course materials will be found on canvas. Here is a link to the official course syllabus.

Unofficial Course Title

This is an integrative studies course first taught in Fall 2018. While it was being developed, its working title was "On Bullshit" after a well-known essay written by philosopher Harry Frankfurt. In class and in conversation we still refer to the course by this title, or simply by "Bullshit".

Official University Bulletin Course Description

The course will consider the ways statements are used for aims other than to convey accurate information. This disregard for truth results in the increasingly difficult task of identifying bias and falsehood in the age of information. There are three areas most corrosive to knowledge: language, science, and statistics. The course will examine the appeal of rhetorical arguments and the role of bias in assessing claims; various ways evidence fails to support a conclusion; and the manipulation of data to make information appear more compelling than it is. Students will learn to evaluate the truth of arguments based on philosophical and scientific criteria, and use a variety of skills to identify bias and falsehood in the media.

This is an integrative interdomain course with both humanities (GH) and natural science (GN) designations.



Course Schedule