Course Description

Course Name

Critical Thinking

Session: VDNS3121

Hours & Credits

18 Credit Points

Prerequisites & Language Level

Taught In English

  • There is no language prerequisite for courses at this language level.

Overview

The ideas of reason, truth and argument. What are the limits of argument? Common fallacies of reasoning. Traditional logic and its limitations. Modern logic. Non-deductive reasoning.

This course teaches students to develop clear, persuasive, rational arguments. It also teaches students a wide variety of methods for the analysis or reasoning both in academic and non-academic contexts. Topics covered include:

-Recognizing different types of arguments
-Evaluating deductive arguments using logical validity
-Setting out and analysing arguments using simple logical notation
-Understanding causal reasoning
-Recognising fallacies
-Understanding moral panics and pseudoscience

Learning Outcomes
Students will gain:
-The ability to critically assess the reasoning employed by themselves and others
-A demonstrated understanding of the notions of validity and soundness; a demonstrated ability to test for validity employing the techniques of syllogistic reasoning, Venn diagrams and truth-tables; a demonstrated ability to apply Mill's methods to causal arguments
-A demonstrated ability to recognise and discuss examples of common fallacies and to explain and assess pseudoscientific claims in their own words
-The ability to develop and analyse philosophical reasoning collaboratively in group discussion

Course Structure
Two 1-hour lectures per week and one tutorial.

This is a skill-based course. The point is not to learn any particular facts or content, but rather skills for dealing with any facts or content you might come across in life. In the first half of the course, we learn about methods for evaluating evidence, telling when something is science versus when it is not and how to identify fallacious reasoning. In the second half, we learn some basic symbolic logic ? Venn diagrams and truth-tables ? as ways of telling whether or not a deductive argument is formally valid.

Assessment:
Two in-class tests 15% each
Tutorial-based assessment 10%
Final exam 60%

*Course content subject to change