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Duke University

Think Again I: How to Understand Arguments

Duke University via Coursera


In this course, you will learn what an argument is. The definition of argument will enable you to identify when speakers are giving arguments and when they are not. Next, you will learn how to break an argument into its essential parts, how to put them in order to reveal their connections, and how to fill in gaps in an argument by adding suppressed premises. By the end of this course, you will be better able to understand and appreciate arguments that you and other people present.

Suggested Readings:
Students who want more detailed explanations or additional exercises or who want to explore these topics in more depth should consult Understanding Arguments: An Introduction to Informal Logic, Ninth Edition, Concise, Chapters 1-5, by Walter Sinnott-Armstrong and Robert Fogelin.

Course Format:
Each week will be divided into multiple video segments that can be viewed separately or in groups. There will be short ungraded quizzes after each segment (to check comprehension) and a longer graded quiz at the end of the course.


  • Welcome to the Specialization
    • Welcome to our specialization Introduction to Logic and Critical Thinking based on our Coursera course Think Again: How to Reason and Argue. This course-Think Again: How to Understand Arguments - is the first in a series of four courses. We are excited that you are taking this course, and we hope that you will stick around for all four courses in the series, because there is a great deal of important material to learn. In the series as a whole, you will learn how to analyze and evaluate arguments and how to avoid common mistakes in reasoning. These important skills will be useful to you in deciding what to believe and what to do in all areas of your life. We will also have plenty of fun. The first part of this course introduces the specialization and the course. It also clarifies some peculiarities you may find with this course. We encourage you to watch the "Introduction to the Specialization" video first as it will help you learn more from the materials that come later.
  • How to Spot an Argument
    • In this week's material we will teach you how to identify arguments as opposed to abuse . We will define what an argument is, distinguish various purposes for which arguments are given (including persuasion, justification, and explanation), and discuss the material out of which arguments are made (language). The last three lectures this week are optional, but they are recommended for advanced students. LEARNING OUTCOMES: By the end of this week’s material, you will be able to :define what an argument ispull arguments out of larger texts distinguish various purposes of arguments. OPTIONAL READING: If you want more examples or more detailed discussions of these topics, we recommend Understanding Arguments, Ninth Edition

Taught by

Walter Sinnott-Armstrong and Ram Neta


4.2 rating, based on 11 Class Central reviews

4.6 rating at Coursera based on 2903 ratings

Start your review of Think Again I: How to Understand Arguments

  • The teaching style was entertaining, and some of the examples were very funny. The course was well structured, and the lectures were quite analytical. They teach you from the very basics, but the leaning curve is relatively steep. I thought some ma…
  • I have been looking for a college-level education in logic (since I never had one during my college days), and this course perfectly quenched the thirst at least for a moment. This is an excellent material for those who want to learn informal logic in a low-stakes setting (without the pressure of doing well in and paying for a college course) but with a respectable measure of academic rigor. The mentioned reference is an impressive resource, and I recommend reading its contents after the corresponding lecture videos. Lastly, the final exam is enjoyable if you aim to get a perfect score, since every attempt (at a certain point) provides non-identical questions. I am looking forward to finish the entire Coursera Specialization.
  • I liked it very much. Nery good food for thought.
    Anlytical enough!
    I am looking forward to finding time for the rest parts!!!
  • Anonymous
    Lost interest in this course as I was taking it for free as a fun elective study. I would however recommend it to someone in the law field there are great tips for litigation.
  • Profile image for Antonio Youssif
    Antonio Youssif
    Interesting course, I think is more suitable for professionals in Legal or Content Creation departments, useful and practical in some areas.
  • Sagar Ladhwani
    The course takes a very structural approach to breaking down arguments into their most granular components and all the tools and tips to form and evaluate good arguments.

    The course material is very well structured and the lectures and discussion forums are pretty engaging!

    I'd recommend this to anyone who is interested in this domain!
  • Debora Azevedo
  • Profile image for Li Chai
    Li Chai

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