Critical Reasoning, Logic & Epistemology

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Enrolled: 127 students
Lectures: 90
Level: Intermediate

One distinct difference between humans and other animals is our ability and power to reason. The reasoning is what makes us humans. But how do we reason rationally? We will get nowhere if we couldn’t reason. Without it, we would be restricted to learning through our senses and immediate experiences.

Where do we acquire the knowledge to reason rationally and how do we know that our reasoning is more rational than someone else we may be arguing with? We may be unknowingly irrational drawing our evidence from some myth or fallacy and arguing irrationally with an argument that appears to be good but is a bad one.

Our senses are being constantly bombarded with all sorts of information that helps build the knowledge we acquire to form opinions. This information may change or recreate itself as knowledge at any time throughout our lives. But that same information may be perceived or processed differently by someone else we are arguing with and consequently interpreted differently. Is an orange, yellow or orange or even green is an example? Unless we can deduce or induce conclusions from the evidence of our senses, we cannot claim to know at all.

It is not as if for every argument we may have, an adjudicator is present to decide between who is right or wrong and even if there was one present, why must we accept the basis of their judgment where their perception and interpretation may be distorted or have been perceived incorrectly?

Reasoning takes us from one set of beliefs to another set of beliefs and we all argue believing we are rational. This course will teach you what counts as a bad argument and a good argument. What counts as a bad argument that looks like a good argument called fallacies as you would discover?

The course will first teach you how to recognize arguments, how to analyze arguments from a set of sentences and the two types of arguments we have; deductive and inductive, and how to tell the difference between the two and how to evaluate them. Lately, a lot of news has been termed as fake news or misinformation such that it gets confusing on how to differentiate what the truth is from mistaken truths or blatant lies.

The theory of knowledge is one of the most central areas of philosophy. In this online course, you will cover the key issues in epistemology and how to think for yourself. We will cover what is knowledge?

Where does our knowledge or understanding come from, science, religion, culture, morality, law, evidence?
And why must anyone believe us or us be anyone else?
Why is knowledge valuable to us?
Do we really have any knowledge?
What is epistemic virtue or truth and objectivity? And the application of knowledge to politics, a new introduction to the subject.

In the end, you will practice Socratic thinking applying your understanding to this method. This course attempts to put this all in perspective and will help you understand how to think and reason critically as well as argue rationally.

1. Introduction to Critical Thinking

1
Unit1.1: Introduction to Critical Thinking
2
Unit 1.2: – Teaching Critical Thinking
3
Unit 1.3: What is Critical Thinking?
4
Unit 1.4: Improving our Critical Thinking Skills
5
Unit 1.5: The Importance of Critical Thinking; Metacognitive, Theory, Practice,
6
Unit 1.6: What is Knowledge? Two Basic Requirements of Knowledge; Truth and Belief
7
Unit 1.7: Knowing Versus “Merely Getting it Right”
8
Unit 1.8: A Brief Remark on Truth

Meaning Analysis

1
Unit 2.1: Elements of Meaning
2
Unit 2.2: Definition analysis; Reportive, Stipulative, Precising, Persuasive
3
Unit 2.3: Verbal Disputes
4
Unit 2.4: Necessary and Sufficient Conditions
5
Unit 2.5: Reification and Category Mistakes
6
Unit 2.6: – Philosophical Arguments and Distortion of Meaning
7
Unit 2.7: Empty Content
8
Unit 2.8: Thinking Critically About Ordinary Language
9
Unit 2.9: Assessing and Evaluating Credible Sources.

3. Evaluating Internet Material and it’s Reliability

1
Unit 3.1: Finding Material on the Internet
2
Unit 3.2: Why Use the Internet
3
Unit 3.3: The Art of the Search Query
4
Unit 3.4: Types of Material on the Internet
5
Unit 3.5: Scholarly Journals and Database
6
Unit 3.6: Online Encyclopedias, Videos, Online Books
7
Unit 3.7: The Impact of Social Media
8
Unit 3.8: Essential Questions to Ask when evaluating Internet Material
9
Unit 3.9: The ADAM Approach
10
Unit 3.10: Social Media and Multimedia Sources

Research Skills

1
Unit 4.1: Credible Sources: Reliability, Authority, Validity, Accuracy
2
Unit 4.2: Scholarly Information Sources
3
Unit 4.3: Non-Scholarly but Formally Published Information Sources
4
Unit 4.4: – Information Sources that were Never Formally Published
5
Unit 4.5: Validity by Discipline; Humanities, Social Science, Science, Applied fields
6
Unit 4.6: Emotional Manipulation
7
Unit 4.7: Evaluating Sources and Peer Reviews

5. The Nature of an Argument

1
Unit 5.1: The Nature of an Argument
2
Unit 5.2: What are Arguments – Recognizing Arguments – Forms of a Good Argument
3
Unit 5.3: Ambiguity, Validity and Soundness
4
Unit 5.4: The Standard Format of an Argument – Rounding Out Arguments
5
Unit 5.5: Deductive And Inductive Arguments
6
Unit 5.6: – The Principles of the Uniformity of Nature (PUN), of Charity, and of Unintelligibility
7
Unit 5.7: Evaluative Language – Hidden Assumptions
8
Unit 5.8: – Inductive Reasoning and Good Arguments – Truths and Falsehoods
9
Unit 5.9: Sets of Sentences – Simple vs Complex Sentences
10
Unit 5.10: The Tone of Utterances – Analysing a Real-Life Argument

6. Basic Sentential Logic

1
Unit 6.1: The Basis of Logic
2
Unit 6.2: What Logic is and is Not
3
Unit 6.3: Logical Statements, Connectiveness and relations
4
Unit 6.4: Formal Methods of Evaluation
5
Unit 6.5: How to Write Sentences in Sentential Logic
6
Unit 6.6: Propositional Logic Functions
7
Unit 6.7: Connective and Truth Tables
8
Unit 6.8: Relationships in Truth Statements

7. Introduction to Vann Diagrams

1
Unit 7.1: Vann Diagrams as illustrations of Sets or Classes
2
Unit 7.2: More Complicated Vann Diagrams
3
Unit 7.3: Illustrating Experience with Vann Diagrams
4
Unit 7.4: Review of Introduction to Van Diagrams
5
Unit 7.5: Vann diagrams and Arguments; using Vann Diagrams to Evaluate Syllogism
6
Unit 7.6: Understanding the Logic of Vann Diagrams
7
Unit 7.7: The Limitations of Vann Diagrams
8
Unit 7.8: Review of Vann Diagrams and Arguments

8. Fallacies

1
Unit 8.1: Introduction to Fallacies; What is a Fallacy?
2
Unit 8.2: Types of Fallacies; Formal vs Informal Fallacies
3
Unit 8.3: List of Fallacies; Dichotomy, Causal Slippery Slope and Appeal to Authority
4
Unit 8.4: Inconsistency, Irrelevance, Insufficiency, and Inappropriate Presumptions
5
Unit 8.5: The Ten Common Fallacies; The Strawman Fallacy, The Gamblers Fallacy
6
Unit 8.6: Begging the Question, Red Herring , Ad Hominin (Against the Reason)
7
Unit 8.7: Ad Ignorantium (Appeal to Ignorance), Ad Populum (Appeal to people)
8
Unit 8.8: Complex Question (Double Barreled), Loaded Question
9
Unit 8.9: Non-Sequitur (It Does Not Follow)
10
Unit 8.10: Cognitive Biases – Review of Fallacies

9. Scientific Reasoning

1
Unit 9.1: The Hypothetical -Deductive Method
2
Unit9.2: The Scientific Method Explained by a Scientist
3
Unit 9.3: What Makes One Scientific Method Better Than Another?
4
Unit 9.4: The Basic of Causality; Causal Reasoning
5
Unit 9.5: Causation; Five Ways to Identify a Cause-Mill’s Methods
6
Unit 9.6: Causality is More Than Just Cause and Effect; Causal Inferences
7
Unit 9.7: The Difference Between Causation and Correlation
8
Unit 9.8: Ways of Representing Cause and Effect
9
Unit 9.9: Fallacies About Causation
10
Unit 9.10: Discussion – Scientific Theories

10. Strategic Reasoning and Creativity

1
Unit 10.1: Strategic Reasoning; Classifying Problems
2
Unit 10.2: Solving Problems – Complex Systems – Charts and Diagrams
3
Unit 10.3: Making Good Decisions
4
Unit 10.4: Creative Thinking; the Three Basic Principles of Creative Thinking
5
Unit 10.5: The Creativity Cycle -Creative Heuristics and Group Creativity
6
Unit 10.6: How Can the Theory of Knowledge Be Applied to the Political Domain?
7
Unit 10.7: Democratic Politics and Informed Citizens
8
Unit 10.8: Bullshit and Post Fact Politics
9
Unit 10.9: Intellectual Virtues – Epistemic Injustice
10
Unit 10.10: Socratic Thinking as a Social Practice
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No, there are no prerequisites for this course.
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