PHIL 105.001 – How to Reason and Argue: An Introduction to Critical Thinking
Instructor: Conner Schultz. This course meets MWF 9:05 – 9:55 a.m. in CW 105.
We often want to know what to think: what killed the dinosaurs; does government spending cause inflation; is anthropogenic climate change happening; why did the Roman Empire collapse; does exist outside of earth; what is the most fundamental particle of our universe; what is justice; what is morality. But rarely do we stop to wonder how to think. And yet, it’s only once we know how to think can we know what to think.
This course will not teach you what to think, but rather, how to think. Perhaps more than any other class you will ever take, this course’s introduction to reason and argumentation will help you make sense of every other topic, theme, and time period you choose to study. It provides the essential foundation to higher learning and critical thinking 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 the different types, breaking them down into premises and conclusions, evaluating the quality of evidence, pinpointing logical fallacies, etc.—and how to construct your own arguments and communicate them effectively orally and in writing.
But don’t be fooled: thinking critically is not about winning arguments. Rather, thinking critically is about subjecting your own beliefs and values, as well as those of others, to intense scrutiny. By doing so, you gain a deeper understanding of the matters you care about.