Schedule and Readings

Week 1
Topic: What is critical thinking? and The big picture: context
21/1 Introduction (Powerpoint)
24/1 Context (Powerpoint)
Optional Reading: “Fallacy of quoting out of context (Wikipedia)
Optional Reading: Talk Origins: The quote mine project
Optional Reading: “Obama’s Imperial ‘I’: spreading the meme” (Language Log)
Optional Reading: Controversial Gay-Parenting Study Is Severely Flawed, Journal’s Audit Finds (Chronicle of Higher Education)

Week 2
Topic: Cognitive Biases
28/1 Cognitive Biases I (Powerpoint)
Optional Reading: Gilovich Chapter 2
31/1 Cognitive Biases II (Powerpoint)
Optional Reading: Gilovich, Chapter 3

Week 3
Topic: Cognitive Biases Continued
4/2 Cognitive Biases III (Powerpoint)
Optional Reading: Gilovich, Chapter 4
Optional Reading: “Loftus and Palmer” (SimplyPsychology)
Optional Reading: “The Multiple Endpoints Phenomenon” (Infophilia)
Optional Reading: “John Edward” (Wikipedia)
7/2 Cognitive Biases IV
Optional Reading: “Base Rate Fallacy” (Wikipedia)
Optional Reading: “The quiet scandal of the HIV home test” (CNN)

Week 4
11/2 No Class (New Year)
14/2 No Class (New Year)

Week 5
Topic: Logic and Formalization
18/2 Formalization
Reading: Sentential Logic Module
21/2 Truth-Tables (Powerpoint) Errors corrected!
Homework #1
Reading: Continue with the Sentential Logic Module

Week 6
Topic: Logic and Proofs
25/2 Proofs (Powerpoint)
Reading: Derivations in Sentential Logic
Reading: Some rules
Reading: More rules
Reading: Strategies for making a derivation
28/2 More Proofs (Powerpoint)
Homework #2
Reading: Continue with Derivations in Sentential Logic

Week 7
Topic: Predicate Logic
4/3 Quantifiers and Logic (Powerpoint)
Reading: Predicate Logic
(Read PL01-PL06.)
7/3 No Class (Sports Day)

Week 8
Topic: Midterm
11/3 In-Class Midterm
14/3 Fallacies Class cancelled

Week 9
Topic: Predicate Logic
18/3 Midterm Discussion (Powerpoint)
21/3 Predicate Logic (Powerpoint)
Optional Reading: “Debunking Handbook” (Cook and Lewandowsky)
Optional Reading: “Ecological Fallacy” (Freedman)

Week 10
Topic: Scientific Experiments
25/3 Fallacies (Powerpoint)
28/3 Experimental Design (Powerpoint)
Optional Reading: “No Bacon Shortage in 2013″ (International Business Times)
Optional Reading: “How the Web Prevents Rape” (Slate)
Optional Reading: “Lucia de Berk: A Martyr to Stupidity” (Bad Science)
Optional Reading: “First Recorded Experiment? Daniel 1: 1-16″ (Omni Brain)

Week 11
1/4 No Class (Easter)
4/4 No Class (Ching Ming Festival)

Week 12
Topic: Randomized Controlled Trials and the Placebo Effect
8/4 RCTs
Optional Reading: “Egg Yolks Almost As Bad for Your Heart As Smoking” (Daily News)
Optional Reading: “Eat More Chocolate, Win More Nobels?” (Yahoo! News)
Optional Reading: “Men More Likely to Cheat If They Are Economically Dependent on Their Female Partners, Study Finds” (Science News)
Optional Reading: “With Lung Cancer, Quitters Do Better Than Smokers” (
11/4 Placebos and Nocebos
Optional Reading: “Knee Surgery No Better than Placebo” (ABC News)
Optional Reading: “The Depressing News about Antidepressants” (Newsweek)
Optional Reading: “Acupuncture for Pain No Better Than Placebo — And Not Without Harm, Study Finds” (ScienceDaily)
Optional Reading: “No to homeopathy placebo” (Edzard Ernst, The Guardian)
Optional Reading: “Placebo Ethics” (Science-Based Medicine)

Topic: Bad Science
15/4 Bad Science (Powerpoint)
Optional Reading: “Injecting Chicken Blood” (China Heritage Quarterly)
18/4 Bad Defenses of Bad Science
Authority (Powerpoint)
Homework 3 due 22/4

Week 14
Topic: Odds and Ends
Probability (Powerpoint)
25/4 Definitions and Arguments (Powerpoint)
Recommended Reading: “Meaning Analysis” (Critical Thinking Web)
Recommended Reading: “Argument Analysis” (Critical Thinking Web

Week 15
Topic: Wrap-up, Catch-up, Summary, and Conclusion
29/4 Logic Review (Powerpoint)
2/5 Review Part 2 (Powerpoint)