This course is an introduction to critical thinking—thinking about arguments, about reasons that might be given in support of a conclusion. The objective of the course is to improve the student's ability in the basic skills of critical thinking:
● how to recognize arguments,
● how to interpret them,
● how to evaluate them,
● how to construct them.
Developing these skills is extremely important, because critical thinking is an essential, pervasive part of our lives. We need to think critically whenever we consider reasons for or against some claim or action—something required in all fields of knowledge and all kinds of decision-making.
Of course, we all know, to some extent or another, how to think critically—how to think about reasons for or against some claim. The course is built on the assumption that learning more about what exactly is involved in thinking about reasons leads us to do it better. Thus, in each topic covered, our natural logical instincts serve as a starting point, from which we develop a rigorous, theoretical understanding, which then boosts our critical thinking skills.
Lesson 1. What’s “Critical Thinking?”
Lesson 2. What are Arguments Made Of?
Lesson 3. From Premises to Conclusions
Lesson 4. Recognizing Arguments: Introduction
Lesson 5. Argument vs. The Text Containing It
Lesson 6. Recognizing Conclusions
Lesson 7. Arguments vs. Explanations
Lesson 8. Argument Diagrams: Introduction
Lesson 9. More about Argument Diagrams
Lesson 10. Argument Diagrams: Examples
Lesson 11. Hedges
Lesson 12. Disclaimers
Lesson 13. Examples
Lesson 14. Rhetorical Language
Lesson 15. Referential Attribution
Lesson 16. Principles of Interpretation
Lesson 17. Implicit Premises
Lesson 18. What’s a Good Argument?
Lesson 19. More Virtues of Arguments
Lesson 20. Argument Ad Hominem
Lesson 21. Argument Ad Verecundiam
Lesson 22. Argument Ad Populum
Lesson 23. Argument Ad Ignorantiam
Lesson 24. Argument Ad Baculum and Ad Misericordiam
Lesson 25. Venn Diagrams
Lesson 26. Beyond Venn
Lesson 27. Modus Ponens
Lesson 28. Modus Tollens
Lesson 29. Conditionals
Lesson 30. Reductio Ad Absurdum
Lesson 31. Process of Elimination
Lesson 32. Separation of Cases
Lesson 33. Truth Trees: An Example
Lesson 34. How to Grow Truth Trees
Lesson 35. Truth Trees: Another Example
Lesson 36. Reflexive Relations
Lesson 37. Symmetric Relations
Lesson 38. Transitive Relations
Lesson 39. Inductive Generalization
Lesson 40. What's a Good Sample?
Lesson 41. The New Riddle of Induction
Lesson 42. From Induction to Causation
Lesson 43. Evaluating Causal Generalizations
Lesson 44. Argument from Analogy: Basics
Lesson 45. Argument from Analogy: Examples
Lesson 46. Who Needs Analogues?
Lesson 47. Inference to the Best Explanation
Lesson 48. Experimentation
Lesson 49. Building an Argument
Lesson 50. Writing Up an Argument