The aim of this course is to teach the skills and knowledge needed to more clearly understand and analyze the arguments of others, and to carefully construct arguments of one’s own and present them in writing.
We will focus on developing critical ability in reading and written work. In particular, this course aims to develop the skills needed for (a) identifying, analysing, and clearly and charitably reconstructing the arguments of others; (b) identifying and avoiding common pitfalls in arguments; (c) writing clearly, precisely and persuasively; and (d) efficiently assessing different sources of evidence. Good critical thinking takes diligence and practice. For this reason, the classes will be practice-based and it will be assumed that students have completed the required weekly readings in advance.
At the completion of their work for this course, students will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the basic concepts and principles of critical reasoning. They will be able to identify, reconstruct, and critique different types of arguments presented in texts and to identify and avoid common pitfalls in arguments. They will be able to take a reflective and critical approach to their own claims as well as those of others, and to write their own arguments with clarity and precision.