Faculty of Arts

PHIL 105

Critical Thinking

Please note: this is archived course information from 2021 for PHIL 105.


An introduction to reasoning, argument, and explanation that emphasizes the development of practical skills and their use in everyday life. The course introduces different forms of reasoning and explains techniques to evaluate them. The course’s goal is to enable students to distinguish good arguments and explanations from bad ones, to explain the difference, and thereby to improve critical thinking abilities.

The course is divided into three parts:

Basic Reasoning: We explore some challenges of reasoning well, and how we might represent and analyse our reasons via arguments. We will learn to analyse and evaluate simple written arguments, and recognise the limitations of both deductive and non-deductive arguments.

Complex Reasoning:  We lean hope to identify good and bad arguments, and how to repair them. We develop systematic methods to represent and analyse specific common type of argument, including those for analogies, explanations and selecting a choice of action.

Topical Reasoning: We apply our newly acquired reasoning tools to investigate the inner workings of specialised contexts for reasoning: Correlation; Science; Morality & Ethics; and a topic of your choice (Law, Medicine, Engineering, etc). In each context we will consider how and why the techniques we have learned vary in that context, and how good reasoning varies in each context.

Course Outcomes

You'll learn how to:

·       identify and avoid common thinking mistakes and habits that lead to the formation of bad beliefs

·       recognise, reconstruct and evaluate arguments

·       write and strengthen your own arguments

·       reason both about abstract knowledge, and for practical action

·       apply reasoning tools in areas including science, morality and law.

100% Coursework 

Availability 2021

Summer School, repeated Semester 1 and 2


Lecturer(s) Dr Andrew Withy


The in-person and online streams will have the same assessment.

100% Coursework


PHIL 105: 15.0 points

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