Critical Thinking

PHIL 259/3.0


A discussion of the general principles of reasonable discourse, with a focus on persuasive and cogent writing.

Please note: This course is typically offered in the fall term

In this class you will learn how to think critically; you will learn how to evaluate arguments, claims, beliefs, and so on as well as how to make solid arguments of your own. You will learn how to think clearly, a powerful skill indeed. Since the complement to thinking clearly is writing clearly, this critical thinking course also includes a writing component. Many of the assignments require short essay or paragraph-style answers. These will be marked on content, grammar, and style. Please make sure you proofread your assignments before handing them in.

Learning Outcomes



Module 1Claims: Recognising, Identifying, Distinguishing, Normative vs. Non-normative 
Issues: Recognising 
Arguments: Recognising, Identifying, Distinguishing, Features, Deductive vs. Inductive, Structure, Standardising
Module 2Argument Forms 
Translation Tips 
Truth Tables
Module 3Credibility of Claims 
Credibility of Sources
Rhetoric: Distinguishing Between Rhetoric and Argument Fallacies
Module 4Inductive Arguments: Generalising 
Scientific sampling: Sample, Target, Feature, Typicality 
Polls: Random Sample, Error Margin, Confidence Level Fallacies 
Arguments by Analogy 
Cause and Effect Fallacies 


Fall 2024
Course Dates
Delivery Mode


20% - Assignments (x2)
20% - Quizzes (x2)
10% - Blog Argument Essay
10% - Blog Critique Essay
5% - Evaluation by Group
5% - Group Grade
30% - Final Proctored Exam

**Evaluation Subject to Change**

Late Penalties

Late penalties are set at 5% per day late. The turnaround time for getting comments on a late assignment could be considerably longer than for those which are submitted on time.

Final Examination

The final exam will test you on your understanding of the material covered in the course as a whole, as well as on your ability to apply the skills you have learned. It will be a closed-book exam in a form similar to that of the assignments. By the time you take the exam, the style of questions should be familiar to you since you will have encountered similar questions in the textbook exercises, as well as on your assignments.


  1. You may choose to write your exam(s) online using Examity proctoring services where you will be charged the additional $100 exam fee; or
  2. You may choose to write your exam(s) in-person on Queen's campus in Kingston where you will NOT be charged the additional $100 exam fee.


Once the exam schedule has been finalized the exam date will be posted on your SOLUS account. The exam dates for each Term are listed on the Faculty of Arts and Science webpage under "Important Dates." Student exam schedules for the Fall Term are posted via SOLUS immediately prior to the Thanksgiving holiday; for the Winter Term they are posted on the Friday before Reading Week, and for the Summer Term they are individually noted on the Arts and Science Online syllabi. Students should delay finalizing any travel plans until after the examination schedule has been posted. Exams will not be moved or deferred to accommodate employment, travel/holiday plans or flight reservations.

Textbook and Materials

ASO reserves the right to make changes to the required material list as received by the instructor before the course starts. Please refer to the Campus Bookstore website at to obtain the most up-to-date list of required materials for this course before purchasing them.

Required Textbook

Available from Queen's Campus Bookstore:

  • Moore, B. N. & Parker, R. 2016. Critical Thinking, 13th Edition. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Time Commitment

To complete the readings, assignments, and course activities, students can expect to spend, on average, about 10 hours per week (120 hours per term) on the course.