Full course description
Tested socratically! Recommended by philosophers and education specialists! Critical thinking involves more than just a critical attitude: it is a collection of complex cognitive skills. These skills include interpretation and clarification of meanings, analysis of ideas and arguments, evaluation of statements and arguments, drawing of conclusions, disputing of proof and coming up with alternative conclusions, and the presentation of arguments.
The emphasis of this course mainly lies on the further development of two skills. First, students will extensively practise the analysis of reasoning with training in informal logic. These argumentation analyses will result in a better understanding of implicit and explicit reasoning in pieces of text, discussions, public debates and academic articles. Second, students will familiarise themselves with the basic principles of classical and modern logic. Students will also practise the use of this more formal logical tool extensively, both during the tutorial group meetings and independently at home. This basic knowledge of logic will be useful when exposing pseudo logic. Fallacies such as the well-known “I fit into my jacket, my jacket fits in my bag, so I fit into my bag” are also often used in academic articles. For example, in an argumentation where certain skills of crows (counting) are elevated via a middle term (calculating) to prove that animals possess complex skills (animals can do math); after all, the products of science have to be sold too! Finally, students will cover a number of scientific-philosophical questions: What is science? What is true?
During the course, students will practise the two basic skills argumentation analysis and logical reasoning in a more informal manner with debates, a number of puzzles and an analysis of academic texts. This will also involve practising many of the practical sub-skills that are important for critical thinking.
Students are able:
- to analyse and evaluate argumentations;
- to explain and apply the basic principles of classical and modern/proposition logic;
- to characterise the main approaches in the philosophy of science;
- to distinguish science from pseudoscience;
- to apply the knowledge learned in this module (formal and informal logic) in a debate.