PHIL 105.004 – How to Reason and Argue: An Introduction to Critical Thinking
Instructor: Graham Clay. This course meets MWF 9:05 – 9:55 a.m. in AR 218.
The goal of this course is to help you develop skills and intellectual virtues that make you better at critical thinking. A thinker is more critical to the degree that they can analyze information, people, and reasoning in ways that reliably lead them to the truth and away from falsehood. By the end of this course, you will have improved your ability to locate and analyze information, to evaluate experts and expertise, and to judge the quality of evidence and reasoning. In all of these domains, we will conceptualize thinking critically in terms of reasons for and against positions—that is, in terms of what philosophers call “arguments,” with their internal logic and external consequences. But skills of argumentation are much less useful in the hands of someone who lacks the right motivations for using them. So, we will also seek to develop in you the intellectual virtues that are conducive to critical thinking, like humility, curiosity, and empathy.