PHIL 105G Critical Thinking

PHIL 105G | Open | Summer School, Semester One & Two 2021 | City Campus | Online | 15 points


An introduction to reasoning, argument, and explanation that emphasizes the development of practical skills and their use in everyday life. The course introduces different forms of reasoning and explains techniques to evaluate them. The course’s goal is to enable students to distinguish good arguments and explanations from bad ones, to explain the difference, and thereby to improve critical thinking abilities.

The course is divided into three parts:

  • Basic Reasoning: We explore some challenges of reasoning well, and how we might represent and analyse our reasons via arguments. We will learn to analyse and evaluate simple written arguments, and recognise the limitations of both deductive and non-deductive arguments.
  • Complex Reasoning: We lean hope to identify good and bad arguments, and how to repair them. We develop systematic methods to represent and analyse specific common type of argument, including those for analogies, explanations and selecting a choice of action.
  • Topical Reasoning: We apply our newly acquired reasoning tools to investigate the inner workings of specialised contexts for reasoning: Correlation; Science; Morality & Ethics; and a topic of your choice (Law, Medicine, Engineering, etc). In each context we will consider how and why the techniques we have learned vary in that context, and how good reasoning varies in each context.

Learning Outcomes

You'll learn how to:

  • identify and avoid common thinking mistakes and habits that lead to the formation of bad beliefs;
  • recognise, reconstruct and evaluate arguments;
  • write and strengthen your own arguments;
  • reason both about abstract knowledge, and for practical action;
  • apply reasoning tools in areas including science, morality and law. 

Student Feedback

'I appriciated the fun and entertaining manner in which the course content was delivered. I took this paper as my final GenEd (was a bit reluctant to go 'off track' from my Commerce papers) and am so pleased that I took this course. It's challenged my way of thinking and helped me to develop my critical thinking and communication skills. Just an awesome paper taught by awesome instructors/tutors.'

'Feedback on discussion posts and assignments was really helpful, it gave me opportunities to improve and learn from mistakes or misunderstandings. The feedback was clear and concise so I was able to identify what I had done wrong.'

'I found the course challenging but the lecturer did very well in clearly outlining objectives and pointing me in the right direction when I had questions. The course was very organised in terms of assignments that allowed us to demonstrate our understanding of content. The lecturer is very passionate about this field and he did well in explaining the content in an understandable way.'

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