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Unit information: Critical Reasoning in 2020/21

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Critical Reasoning
Unit code PHIL10030
Credit points 10
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Karim Thebault
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Philosophy
Faculty Faculty of Arts


This unit introduces the student to the analysis of arguments found in a variety of everyday contexts, understanding the structure of arguments, and the diagnosis of flaws in reasoning. It aims to give the student an understanding of the variety of forms of argumentation and reasoning including statistical reasoning) and the tools to analyse arguments found in everyday life. It aims also, thereby, to make the student more conscious of their own reasoning practices and so less liable to errors in reasoning and more competent in constructing sound arguments of their own.

Intended learning outcomes

The student completing this unit should be able to:

  1. Analyse the structure of arguments found in everyday contexts;
  2. Appreciate the role and importance of evidence;
  3. Understand certain important forms of formal reasoning (e.g. statistical inference)
  4. Identify common fallacies and biases in reasoning;
  5. Construct a clear argument;
  6. Be reflective about their own reasoning; be less susceptible to committing fallacies and be less liable to bias.

Teaching details

Lectures, small group work, individual exercises, seminars and virtual learning environment.

Assessment Details

Summative assessment: take home open book end-of-unit exam - 100% [designed to terst ILOs 1-6]

Reading and References

  • Diane Halpern 1995 Thought and Knowledge: An Introduction to Critical Thinking (Routledge, 3rd edition)
  • Alec Fisher 2001 Critical Thinking: An Introduction (Cambridge)
  • Anne Thomson 2002 Critical Reasoning: A Practical Introduction (Routledge, 3rd edition)
  • William H Hughes, Critical Thinking: An Introduction to the Basic Skills (Broadview, 6th edition)