PHIL 105.002 – How to Reason and Argue: An Introduction to Critical Thinking
Instructor Zach Ferguson. This course meets TR 8:00 – 9:15 a.m. in MU 105.
We often want to know what to think—What killed the dinosaurs? Does government spending cause inflation? What are some ways to avoid the worst effects of climate change? However, we rarely stop to wonder how to think. The problem is that we have to learn how to think before we can know what to think.
This course will teach you how to think. Perhaps more than any other class you will ever take, this introduction to reason and argumentation will help you make sense of every other topic, subject, and time period you choose to study. It provides the essential tools for higher learning that will guide you throughout your time in college and beyond, extending into your career and your life as a global citizen. Throughout our time together, you will learn how to examine arguments—identifying different kinds of arguments, breaking them down into premises and conclusions, evaluating the quality of evidence, and pinpointing logical fallacies. You will also learn how to construct your own arguments and how to communicate them well, both orally and in writing.
Thinking critically is not about winning arguments. It is about subjecting your own beliefs and those of others to intense scrutiny. By doing so, you gain a deeper understanding of the matters you care about most.