Philosophy. Study the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality and existence.
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This philosophy course aims to develop critical thinking skills through practical sessions and the study of informal logic techniques. We will learn the basics of a good argument and evaluate the problems which make an argument go wrong. We will work through practical exercises and evaluate examples from everyday life. The aim of the course is to give the student a better understanding of how to construct a clear and persuasive argument and to assess the clarity of the arguments of others.
Upon completion of this philosophy course, it is expected that participants will:
- Have a better understanding of the structure of arguments.
- Be better able to construct a good argument themselves.
- Be better able to critically assess the arguments of others.
This philosophy course will cover the following topics:
Introduction to Critical Thinking
Concepts and Ideas.
Elements of an Argument
An argument may be very simple with only a single premise and a conclusion, or may be composed of a convoluted series of premises and sub conclusions, one technique for working out the relationship between the different elements in an argument is to reconstruct it in the form of a structure diagram. We will take a variety of examples to learn this technique.
Language & Definitions
Many of the problem in arguments occur because of lack of clarity or precision in defining the terms in the argument. We will discuss Stipulative and Operational Definitions.
Appeals to Authority
Why do we accept the truth of some arguments as reliable and others as unacceptable? We will look at the ways in which arguments appeal to different authority sources for their justification and consider the merits of these appeals to truth.
Problems of Relevance
Many bad arguments work by diverting attention from the main issues of the argument. For example by attacking the personality of the opposition rather than debating his or her claims. We will discuss a number of these divisional fallacies including the Straw person fallacy; Ad Hominem; Tu Quoque; Appeals to Ignorance; The Gambler’s Fallacy.
Arguments from Analogy
Good persuasive arguments can be made through the use of analogies. For example the use of precedent in the legal system is a form of argument from analogy to a previous case. However in making these arguments one must be careful that the analogy supports the primary case.
Arguments from Experience
Arguments from experience use information about things we have experienced to draw conclusions about outcomes in the future, or they generalise the experiences of a few individuals to make claims about many others. We will evaluate the reliability of these forms of argumentation.
How reliable are statistics in arguments. What are the rules of statistical usage.
Application of techniques
In this last session, we will apply the techniques we have learnt to a number of complex arguments.
In this last session we will discuss some contemporary debates from the media and assess the quality of their argumentation.
This philosophy course is suitable for personal interest learners: school, university students, adult and active retirees.
This philosophy course will be delivered as an interactive lecture where questions and discussions are facilitated wherever possible.
- Expert trainers
- Central locations
- Small class sizes
- Free, expert advice
- Student materials – yours to keep
- Statement of completion
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PHIL2642 - Critical Thinking
Semester 2, 2018 | Credit Points: 6
Coordinator: Luke Nigel Russell
Phone: +61 2 9351 3821
An introduction to critical thinking and analysis of argument. By examining arguments drawn from diverse sources, including journalism, advertising, science, medicine, history, economics and politics, we will learn how to distinguish good from bad arguments, and how to construct rationally persuasive arguments of our own. Along the way we will grapple with scepticism, conspiracy theories and pseudoscience. The reasoning skills imparted by this unit make it invaluable not only for philosophy students but for every student at the University.
1x1500wd Essay (30%), 1xin-class test (20%) and 1x2hr exam (50%)
1x2hr lecture/week, 1x1hr tutorial/week
Please Note: This timetable is a draft timetable and subject to change.
Lecture for PHIL2642
|Session||Semester 2 2018|
|Time|| From 12pm|
|Location||Carslaw Lecture Theatre 373 F07|
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