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Skip to 0 minutes and 14 secondsSo here we are in the final week. To bring everything together, we'll revisit an argument we saw earlier, and we'll look at critical and uncritical ways of evaluating it. And we're going to see the argument presented more or less as we come across these things in everyday life. We're interested in a whether the arguers manage to avoid the common obstacles-- the good logical and critical thinking-- we've talked about during the course. Are they using suspect reasoning heuristics? Do they fallaciously appeal to authority, offer a faulty analogy, or commit any of the other fallacies described in the "Learning to spot fallacies" document you got back at the beginning of the course?

Skip to 0 minutes and 53 secondsOf course we're concerned to see whether they are being good logical and critical thinkers. But more specifically, we're concerned to see whether you've picked up the skills we've been trying to teach during the course. We've looked at many specific obstacles to good logical and critical thinking. Many of those obstacles prevent us from assessing arguments or reasons for belief on their merits. To seeing what's good or bad about the arguments or reasons themselves. And one common reason for failing to see what's good or bad about an argument or reason itself, is because we come to the argument with our minds already made up. We don't come to the argument or decision about whether to adopt a belief with an open mind.

Skip to 1 minute and 36 secondsComing to an argument or decision with an open mind means being prepared to evaluate and respond to the argument, or the reasons we're given themselves-- to follow the arguments or reasons where they lead. And sometimes that can be difficult or uncomfortable. We may feel strongly about an issue. But if we're being good logical and critical thinkers, we have to be able to put our feeling aside and assess the issue. The point is that the tools and techniques and distinctions we've offered you during the course won't be any good to you if you don't get them out of your tool bag and use them.

Every Argument is Equal

It’s time to get your hands dirty and apply the logical and critical thinking skills you’ve acquired to a case-study on veganism.

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This video is from the free online course:

Logical and Critical Thinking

The University of Auckland

Get a taste of this course

Find out what this course is like by previewing some of the course steps before you join:

  • Availability heuristic
    Availability heuristic

    We tend to judge the probability of an event by seeing how readily examples come to mind, rather than by working out the real probabilities.

  • Pohutukawa tree case study
    Pohutukawa tree case study

    When is it best to express your views by providing reasons? Are there cases in which other ways of expressing yourself might be better suited?

  • Arguments for and against the existence of God
    Arguments for and against the existence of God

    John Bishop and Patrick Girard from the University of Auckland discuss deductive and non-deductive arguments for and against the existence of God.

  • Science and falsification
    Science and falsification

    Why falsifiability matters.

  • Going Vegan
    Going Vegan

    A pretty wild exchange for and against becoming vegan. We'll use it to see how the skills you've learned during the course can be put into action.

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