Critical Thinking and Politics
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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
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|Section 1: Argument Preliminaries|
Argument and Explanation
Other Uses of Language
The supplemental materials contains answers to the quiz along with my explanations. Do not look at this until after you have taken the quiz.
|Quiz 1||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
|Section 2: Successful Argument Patterns|
Successful Argument Patterns
Illegitimate Argument Patterns
|Quiz 2||8 questions|
State whether the following are examples of Successful or Illegitimate Argument Patterns
|Section 3: Argument Analysis Part 1: Reconstruct the Arguments|
The Purpose of Logical Reconstruction
Lecture 9: The Components of Logical Reconstruction
The Perils of Logical Reconstruction
These are the answers to Section 3 quiz. Obviously, don't look at them until after you take the quiz
Logical Reconstruction Quiz
|Section 4: Argument Analysis Part 2: Identify the Fallacies|
Fallacies, Part 1
Fallacies, Part 2
|Quiz 4||12 questions|
A quiz over the first seven fallacies
Fallacies, Part 3
Fallacies, Part 4
Fallacy Review Quiz
The Redskin Fallacy
|Section 5: Argument Analysis Part III: Determine the Truth of the Premises|
Determining the Truth of the Premises
Real World Examples
Reductio ad Absurdum
|Quiz 6||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
|Section 7: Writing an Argument|
Structuring the Argument
Defending the Premises
|Quiz 7||10 questions|
Determine whether the passages utilize arguments from authority, example or causation.
Introduction and Conclusion
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.