Critical thinking becomes relevant when someone presents a reason for a certain truth-claim or when you are asked to make a decision. When you are presented with a reason as evidence for a certain truth-claim, you must ask: Is this evidence good evidence? Does it really support the claim? How much does it support the claim? Is there other relevant evidence I should consider?
Critical thinking is thus concerned with:
- The evaluation of the strength of evidence
- The evaluation of logical and evidential connections
- The search for new, relevant evidence
Students will learn to:
- Contextualize claims and arguments
- Recognize and avoid common cognitive biases and errors
- Identify common logical fallacies
- Understand the basics of the scientific method and experimental design
- Evaluate empirical claims in light of the evidence
- Employ key concepts of statistics
- Understand and evaluate appeals to experts and authorities
Measurement of Learning Outcomes
Student progress will be measured by weekly homework assignments that implement the key concepts and strategies learned in class each week, and participation that requires students to apply critical thinking to their own lives.
There will be a final, short-answer exam covering all the material in the course.