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    Macalester College
  Sep 21, 2017
College Catalog 2013-2014 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

PHIL 119 - Critical Thinking

This course introduces and explores the main principles and methods of Critical Thinking: distinguishing between good and bad arguments; identifying common fallacies; developing strong and persuasive arguments; the difference between deductive and inductive reasoning; constructing logical proofs; the nature of scientific, moral, and legal reasoning; evaluating polls and statistical hypotheses; understanding probability; deciding how to act under uncertainty. Students will apply these principles and methods to numerous academic and ‘everyday’ contexts, including journals, the print press, blogs, political rhetoric, advertising and documentaries. We will regularly reflect upon more broadly philosophical matters related to Critical Thinking - such as the nature of truth and objectivity and the distinction between science and pseudo-science - and examine a number of intriguing philosophical paradoxes. Students will improve their skills in writing clear and compelling argumentative papers and critically analyzing the writings of others. Course work includes reading, class discussion, regular homework assignments, quizzes, and short argumentative essays. Prerequisite(s): No prerequisites. Every year. (4 Credits)