Approved by Faculty Senate

University Studies Course Approval:

Department Program: Philosophy Department

Course Number: 110

Number of Credits: 3

Course Title: Critical Thinking

Catalog Description:

110 - Critical Thinking - 3 S.H.

This computer-assisted, self-mastery course teaches you how to employ good reasoning skills and how to avoid being fooled by bad reasoning and rhetorical tricks. Competencies acquired in this course include the following: Identifying, evaluating, and constructing arguments; identifying informal fallacies; and testing syllogisms and propositional arguments for validity and overall cogency. Practice exercises and exams are done on computer. Offered each year.

This is an existing course that has previously been approved by A2C2.

 

Department Contact Person for this course: Kevin Possin

Email: kpossin@winona.edu

The proposed course is designed to satisfy the requirements in:

Unity and Diversity—Critical Analysis

 

CRITICAL THINKING

PHIL 110

University Studies—Critical Analysis

Critical Analysis courses in the University Studies program are devoted to teaching critical thinking or analytic problem-solving skills. These skills include the ability to identify sound arguments and distinguish them from fallacious ones. The objective of these courses is to develop student's abilities to effectively use the process of critical analysis. Disciplinary examples should be selected to support the development of critical analysis skills.

As one can see by the following analysis of Critical Thinking 110, the entire course is dedicated to this goal of developing critical thinking skills and developing the students’ abilities to effectively use the process of critical analysis.

CRITICAL THINKING

Goal: Critical thinking is the process of requiring and assessing reasons for a person's beliefs, values, and actions. The ultimate goals of critical thinking are truth and avoidance of error. The means to these goals are 1) to adopt beliefs, values, and action plans for which one has the best reasons and 2) to refrain from adopting those beliefs, values, and action plans for which one either lacks reasons or has reasons to believe are in error.

 

Student Competencies Students will be able to:

a. Identify Arguments: Identify reasons/arguments by
    their function. Distinguish arguments from, for example,
    assertions, descriptions, and explanations.

b. Dissect Arguments: Identify and distinguish the parts
    of arguments--premises, conclusions, and subarguments.

c. Assess Arguments: Identify and assess the cogency
    of arguments in terms of 1) the truth of their premises and 2)
    the relevance of their premises to the truth of their conclusions.

d. Identify Fallacies: Identify types of arguments that
    are commonly used to trick people into adopting beliefs,
    values, and action plans unjustifiably.

e. Taxonomize Arguments: Identify and distinguish
    between deductive and inductive arguments. Be able to
   1) assess the validity of deductive arguments and
   2) assess the defensibility of inductive arguments, namely
   the probable truth of their conclusions given the evidence
   cited in their premises.

f. Critically Review Definitions: Analyze concepts to determine necessary
and sufficient conditions, i.e., essential properties.

          g. Dissect and Assess Position Papers: Identify and distinguish the
              elements involved in advancing and defending a position.

These courses must include requirements and learning activities that promote students' abilities to...

 1. Evaluate the validity and reliability of information.

Among the above-mentioned student competencies developed in CT especially devoted to this criterion are:

c. Assess Arguments: Identify and assess the cogency
   of arguments in terms of 1) the truth of their premises and
    2) the relevance of their premises to the truth of their conclusions.

d. Identify Fallacies: Identify types of arguments that
    are commonly used to trick people into adopting beliefs, values,
   and action plans unjustifiably.

e. Taxonomize Arguments: Identify and distinguish
    between deductive and inductive arguments. Be able to
   1) assess the validity of deductive arguments and
   2) assess the defensibility of inductive arguments, namely
   the probable truth of their conclusions given the evidence cited in their premises.

2. Analyze modes of thought, expressive works, arguments, explanations, or theories.

Among the above-mentioned student competencies developed in CT especially devoted to this criterion are:

a. Identify Arguments: Identify reasons/arguments by
   their function. Distinguish arguments from, for example,
   assertions, descriptions, and explanations.

b. Dissect Arguments: Identify and distinguish the parts
   of arguments--premises, conclusions, and subarguments.

          g. Dissect and Assess Position Papers: Identify and distinguish
             the elements involved in advancing and defending a position.

 

3. Recognize possible inadequacies or biases in the evidence given to support arguments or conclusions;

Among the above-mentioned student competencies developed in CT especially devoted to this criterion are:

c. Assess Arguments: Identify and assess the cogency
   of arguments in terms of 1) the truth of their premises and
   2) the relevance of their premises to the truth of their conclusions.

d. Identify Fallacies: Identify types of arguments that
   are commonly used to trick people into adopting beliefs, values,
   and action plans unjustifiably.

e. Taxonomize Arguments: Identify and distinguish
    between deductive and inductive arguments. Be able to
   1) assess the validity of deductive arguments and
   2) assess the defensibility of inductive arguments, namely
   the probable truth of their conclusions given the evidence cited in their premises.

f. Critically review definitions: Analyze concepts to determine necessary and sufficient
   conditions, i.e., essential properties.

g. Dissect and Assess Position Papers: Identify and distinguish the elements
    involved in advancing and defending a position.

 

4. Advance and support claims.

Among the above-mentioned student competencies developed in CT especially devoted to this criterion are:

c. Assess Arguments: Identify and assess the cogency
   of arguments in terms of 1) the truth of their premises and
   2) the relevance of their premises to the truth of their conclusions.

e. Taxonomize Arguments: Identify and distinguish
   between deductive and inductive arguments. Be able to
   1) assess the validity of deductive arguments and
   2) assess the defensibility of inductive arguments, namely the
   probable truth of their conclusions given the evidence cited in their premises.

f. Critically review definitions: Analyze concepts to determine necessary
and sufficient conditions, i.e., essential properties.

g. Dissect and Assess Position Papers: Identify and distinguish the elements
involved in advancing and defending a position.

CRITICAL THINKING

PHIL 110

Curriculum, Outcomes, Policies, and Requirements

University Studies—Critical Analysis

Goal: Critical thinking is the process of requiring and assessing reasons for a person's beliefs, values, and actions. The ultimate goals of critical thinking are truth and avoidance of error. The means to these goals are 1) to adopt beliefs, values, and action plans for which one has the best reasons and 2) to refrain from adopting those beliefs, values, and action plans for which one either lacks reasons or has reasons to believe are in error.

 

Student Competencies Students will be able to:

a. Identify Arguments: Identify reasons/arguments by
their function. Distinguish arguments from, for example,
assertions, descriptions, and explanations.

b. Dissect Arguments: Identify and distinguish the parts
of arguments--premises, conclusions, and subarguments.

c. Assess Arguments: Identify and assess the cogency
of arguments in terms of 1) the truth of their premises and
2) the relevance of their premises to the truth of their conclusions.

d. Identify Fallacies: Identify types of arguments that
are commonly used to trick people into adopting beliefs, values,
and action plans unjustifiably.

e. Taxonomize Arguments: Identify and distinguish
between deductive and inductive arguments. Be able to 1) assess
the validity of deductive arguments and 2) assess the defensibility
of inductive arguments, namely the probable truth of their conclusions
given the evidence cited in their premises.

f. Critically Review Definitions: Analyze concepts to determine necessary
and sufficient conditions, i.e., essential properties.

g. Dissect and Assess Position Papers: Identify and distinguish the elements
involved in advancing and defending a position.

 

Exam Requirements

 

• Course Contract • •

For every Exercise Type or Module in the Critical Thinking Software, you must do at least one practice session consisting of at least 20 problems, reaching a proficiency of at least 50%.

These practice sessions must be verified by means of printouts, which you will hand in. You may not take an exam on an Exercise Type until you have completed its corresponding practice requirement discussed above. Exams taken prior to practice are void.

To pass an exam, you must get a score of at least 60. You may repeat exams and review your exams as often as you like, to improve your score above 60. No credit is given for scores below 60—this is a work-to-competency course.

All scores must be verified by means of printouts, which you will hand in. Immediately after printing out your exam, attach your Practice printout to it, and hand the pair in to the Lab Assistant, who will verify that it is yours by checking your picture identification. Exams not handed in immediately after printing are void.

Assignments and due dates for each Exercise Type [Exam, with corresponding Practice printout] are announced in class.

 

Due dates are FINALyou will have approximately 2 weeks to reach competency.

Also required:

Microquizesno make-ups, -10 pts. per microquiz missed

• Brief final on Self-Defense position paper manual

 

Course Grades:

Average score of at least 90 = A

Average score of at least 80 = B

Average score of at least 70 = C

Average score of at least 60 = D

Average score of below 60 = F

 

 

Progress Log

Exercise Type

 

Due Date

Practice Done

Exam Score

Argument Identification

     

 

Anatomy of an Argument

     

 

Wh'd Ya Know About Arguments--Level 1

     

Wh'd Ya Know About Arguments--Level 2

     

Informal Fallacies

     

 

Standard Cat. Form

     

 

Venn Diagrams

     

 

Enthymemes

     

 

Wh'd Ya Know About Arguments--Level 3

     

Conditionals

     

 

Standard Prop. Form--

Easier

     

Standard Prop. Form--

Harder

     

Truth Tables

     

 

Argument Forms

     

 

Wh'd Ya Know About Arguments--Level 4

     

Self-Defense

Anatomy of a Position Paper

     

 

 

 

 

All course activities and assignments simultaneously address all University Studies’ required course outcomes in Critical Thinking 110, in the following ways:

 

 

Critical Analysis courses in the University Studies program are devoted to teaching critical thinking or analytic problem-solving skills. These skills include the ability to identify sound arguments and distinguish them from fallacious ones. The objective of these courses is to develop student's abilities to effectively use the process of critical analysis. Disciplinary examples should be selected to support the development of critical analysis skills.

As one can see by the following analysis of Critical Thinking 110, the entire course is dedicated to this goal of developing critical thinking skills and developing the students’ abilities to effectively use the process of critical analysis.

CRITICAL THINKING

Goal: Critical thinking is the process of requiring and assessing reasons for a person's beliefs, values, and actions. The ultimate goals of critical thinking are truth and avoidance of error. The means to these goals are 1) to adopt beliefs, values, and action plans for which one has the best reasons and 2) to refrain from adopting those beliefs, values, and action plans for which one either lacks reasons or has reasons to believe are in error.

 

Student Competencies Students will be able to:

a. Identify Arguments: Identify reasons/arguments by
their function. Distinguish arguments from, for example,
assertions, descriptions, and explanations.

b. Dissect Arguments: Identify and distinguish the parts
of arguments--premises, conclusions, and subarguments.

c. Assess Arguments: Identify and assess the cogency
of arguments in terms of 1) the truth of their premises and
2) the relevance of their premises to the truth of their conclusions.

d. Identify Fallacies: Identify types of arguments that
are commonly used to trick people into adopting beliefs, values,
and action plans unjustifiably.

e. Taxonomize Arguments: Identify and distinguish
between deductive and inductive arguments. Be able to
1) assess the validity of deductive arguments and
2) assess the defensibility of inductive arguments, namely the
probable truth of their conclusions given the evidence cited in their premises.

f. Critically Review Definitions: Analyze concepts to determine necessary
and sufficient conditions, i.e., essential properties.

g. Dissect and Assess Position Papers: Identify and distinguish the elements
involved in advancing and defending a position.

These courses must include requirements and learning activities that promote students' abilities to...

 1. Evaluate the validity and reliability of information.

Among the above-mentioned student competencies developed in CT especially devoted to this criterion are:

c. Assess Arguments: Identify and assess the cogency
of arguments in terms of 1) the truth of their premises and
2) the relevance of their premises to the truth of their conclusions.

d. Identify Fallacies: Identify types of arguments that
are commonly used to trick people into adopting beliefs, values, and
action plans unjustifiably.

e. Taxonomize Arguments: Identify and distinguish
between deductive and inductive arguments. Be able to 1) assess the
validity of deductive arguments and 2) assess the defensibility of inductive
arguments, namely the probable truth of their conclusions given the evidence
cited in their premises.

 

2. Analyze modes of thought, expressive works, arguments, explanations, or theories.

Among the above-mentioned student competencies developed in CT especially devoted to this criterion are:

a. Identify Arguments: Identify reasons/arguments by
their function. Distinguish arguments from, for example, assertions,
descriptions, and explanations.

b. Dissect Arguments: Identify and distinguish the parts
of arguments--premises, conclusions, and subarguments.

g. Dissect and Assess Position Papers: Identify and distinguish the
elements involved in advancing and defending a position.

 

3. Recognize possible inadequacies or biases in the evidence given to support arguments or conclusions;

Among the above-mentioned student competencies developed in CT especially devoted to this criterion are:

c. Assess Arguments: Identify and assess the cogency
of arguments in terms of 1) the truth of their premises and
2) the relevance of their premises to the truth of their conclusions.

d. Identify Fallacies: Identify types of arguments that
are commonly used to trick people into adopting beliefs, values,
and action plans unjustifiably.

e. Taxonomize Arguments: Identify and distinguish
between deductive and inductive arguments. Be able to
1) assess the validity of deductive arguments and
2) assess the defensibility of inductive arguments, namely the
probable truth of their conclusions given the evidence cited in their premises.

f. Critically review definitions: Analyze concepts to determine necessary
and sufficient conditions, i.e., essential properties.

         g. Dissect and Assess Position Papers: Identify and distinguish the elements
         involved in advancing and defending a position.

 

4. Advance and support claims.

Among the above-mentioned student competencies developed in CT especially devoted to this criterion are:

c. Assess Arguments: Identify and assess the cogency
of arguments in terms of 1) the truth of their premises and
2) the relevance of their premises to the truth of their conclusions.

e. Taxonomize Arguments: Identify and distinguish
between deductive and inductive arguments. Be able to
1) assess the validity of deductive arguments and
2) assess the defensibility of inductive arguments, namely the probable
truth of their conclusions given the evidence cited in their premises.

f. Critically review definitions: Analyze concepts to determine necessary and
sufficient conditions, i.e., essential properties.

g. Dissect and Assess Position Papers: Identify and distinguish the elements
involved in advancing and defending a position.