PHIL 259/3.0 Critical Thinking
Our lives are filled and guided by information and arguments. Currently, amidst the Covid-19 global pandemic and Black Lives Matter movement, our ability to understand and analyse information and arguments has unprecedented and profound consequences for all of us. But what is an argument, let alone a good one? In this critical thinking course we shall learn to identify and evaluate arguments, what counts as a valid and sound argument, and what it takes for an argument to be convincing. We shall also identify and consider how biases impact our analysis of information, especially those that influence who and what we take to be credible sources of it. And then see how all these tools apply to the real-life arguments going on around us right now.
By the end of this course learners will be able to:
- Explain what arguments are, and identify deductive and inductive arguments.
- Distinguish between (in)valid and (un)sound argumentsDetermine what constitutes a convincing argument
- Identify the impact of biases in determining the credibility of sources.
- Apply critical thinking tools to evaluate arguments made in public, especially in politics, and news and social media.
Experiential Learning Opportunities
Examples of previous ELOs for this course include a visit to the permanent Holocaust exhibition at the Imperial War Museum (London) where students learn about the potentially horrendous consequences of not challenging authorities, and a live political debate (on site) where students were asked to critically evaluate the arguments proposed by each side.