Critical Thinking

University of Otago

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Critical Thinking

  • Host University

    University of Otago

  • Location

    Dunedin, New Zealand

  • Area of Study


  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • Credit Points

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
    3 - 4
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
    4 - 6
  • Overview

    The ideas of reason, truth and argument. What are the limits of argument? Common fallacies of reasoning. Traditional logic and its limitations. Modern logic. Non-deductive reasoning.

    This course teaches students to develop clear, persuasive, rational arguments. It also teaches students a wide variety of methods for the analysis or reasoning both in academic and non-academic contexts. Topics covered include:

    -Recognizing different types of arguments
    -Evaluating deductive arguments using logical validity
    -Setting out and analysing arguments using simple logical notation
    -Understanding causal reasoning
    -Recognising fallacies
    -Understanding moral panics and pseudoscience

    Learning Outcomes
    Students will gain:
    -The ability to critically assess the reasoning employed by themselves and others
    -A demonstrated understanding of the notions of validity and soundness; a demonstrated ability to test for validity employing the techniques of syllogistic reasoning, Venn diagrams and truth-tables; a demonstrated ability to apply Mill's methods to causal arguments
    -A demonstrated ability to recognise and discuss examples of common fallacies and to explain and assess pseudoscientific claims in their own words
    -The ability to develop and analyse philosophical reasoning collaboratively in group discussion

    Course Structure
    Two 1-hour lectures per week and one tutorial.

    This is a skill-based course. The point is not to learn any particular facts or content, but rather skills for dealing with any facts or content you might come across in life. In the first half of the course, we learn about methods for evaluating evidence, telling when something is science versus when it is not and how to identify fallacious reasoning. In the second half, we learn some basic symbolic logic ? Venn diagrams and truth-tables ? as ways of telling whether or not a deductive argument is formally valid.

    Two in-class tests 15% each
    Tutorial-based assessment 10%
    Final exam 60%

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

Some courses may require additional fees.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.

Please reference fall and spring course lists as not all courses are taught during both semesters.

Availability of courses is based on enrollment numbers. All students should seek pre-approval for alternate courses in the event of last minute class cancellations

Please note that some courses with locals have recommended prerequisite courses. It is the student's responsibility to consult any recommended prerequisites prior to enrolling in their course.