Critical Thinking and Politics

What Every Citizen Needs to Know
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  • Lectures 26
  • Length 4 hours
  • Skill Level Beginner Level
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
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About This Course

Published 4/2015 English

Course Description

Critical Thinking is an introduction to the theory and practice of reasoning. At its core, critical thinking involves the application of both formal and informal tools of reasoning to what we read and interpret as well as what we write and produce. Critical thinking, however, is more than a one size fits all application of abstract logical principles, but requires we think effectively and holistically, stripping way what is superfluous to find the logical core of a situation. It is more of an art than a science and draws as much from intuition as from intellect, requires creativity as much as calculation.

This course will instruct the students in the fundamental themes and concepts of critical thinking, which include: (1) distinguishing premises and conclusions; (2) recognizing fallacies; (3) analyzing argumentative form (4) considering the truth of premises. The method by which this course proceeds is to allow students to develop incrementally the skills required to be critical thinkers. First, this course examines the use of language to formulate arguments and provides methods for analyzing genuine arguments in their richness and complexity, stressing the need to restructure arguments in order to discern their true argumentative form. Next, the course discusses and uncovers the use of fallacious reasoning patterns. Finally, this course suggests strategies, both formal and informal, for analyzing and criticizing arguments, focusing in particular on the notion of validity, the central concept of all reasoning

What are the requirements?

  • This course is routinely taught to college freshman and so assumes a roughly equivalent level of intellectual ability

What am I going to get from this course?

  • Identify arguments and their component parts
  • Name, explain and identify fifteen major fallacies
  • Master three strategies for raising critical comments
  • Develop three methods for defending premises
  • Construct a well-organized letter to the editor
  • Write a persuasive guest editorial essay

What is the target audience?

  • This course requires an interest in argumentation in general and politics in particular
  • This course assumes an interest in argumentative reasoning and an ability or at least a willingness to see both sides of an issue.

What you get with this course?

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Certificate of completion.

Curriculum

Introduction
02:44
Section 1: Argument Preliminaries
Argument and Explanation
10:19
Other Uses of Language
06:15
08:45

The supplemental materials contains answers to the quiz along with my explanations. Do not look at this until after you have taken the quiz.

11 questions

Determine whether the following passages contain an argument. If you do not believe the passage contains an argument, state whether the passage offers an explanation or provides information.

Deduction and Induction
08:16
Section 2: Successful Argument Patterns
Successful Argument Patterns
10:34
Illegitimate Argument Patterns
10:23
8 questions

State whether the following are examples of Successful or Illegitimate Argument Patterns

Section 3: Argument Analysis Part 1: Reconstruct the Arguments
Logical Reconstruction
11:17
The Purpose of Logical Reconstruction
07:06
Lecture 9: The Components of Logical Reconstruction
12:11
The Perils of Logical Reconstruction
11:58
09:18

These are the answers to Section 3 quiz. Obviously, don't look at them until after you take the quiz

Logical Reconstruction Quiz
8 questions
Section 4: Argument Analysis Part 2: Identify the Fallacies
Fallacies, Part 1
13:04
Fallacies, Part 2
15:34
12 questions

A quiz over the first seven fallacies

Fallacies, Part 3
13:34
Fallacies, Part 4
13:00
Fallacy Review Quiz
15 questions
The Redskin Fallacy
03:32
Section 5: Argument Analysis Part III: Determine the Truth of the Premises
Determining the Truth of the Premises
09:02
Real World Examples
07:52
Reductio ad Absurdum
05:28
5 questions

Each of the following passage contains an argument which is criticized. Determine which premise is under attack, and if that premise is a theoretical or a factual claim.

Section 6: Putting it All Together with the Critical Synopsis
The Critical Synopsis
11:20
Section 7: Writing an Argument
Structuring the Argument
08:20
Defending the Premises
16:24
10 questions

Determine whether the passages utilize arguments from authority, example or causation.

Introduction and Conclusion
09:51
Essay Examples
07:17
Closing Thoughts
02:03

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Instructor Biography

Peter Vernezze, PhD in Philosophy

My name is Peter Vernezze. I have a PhD in philosophy and taught critical thinking and other philosophy classes . After nearly two decades I left the university, spent two years in the Peace Corps and returned to relatively civilized life determined to bring the realm of philosophy into the practical world. This has included, among other things, becoming a certified philosophical therapist, writing books directed to the general public and teaching for Udemy.

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