BS: Identifying Bias and Falsehood
Section 001, Fall 2021
Most course materials will be found on
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.
- Section 001: TuTh 9:05 to 10:20am, 102 Forum Building