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Introduction to the course

Welcome to the University of Auckland's Critical Thinking course. I'm Tim Dare. And I'm Patrick Girard. And we'll be teaching this course.

This course aims to help you develop and improve your logical and critical thinking skills and to identify common obstacles to effective logical and critical thinking. The key concepts are illustrated with real-life examples via a combination of videos, articles and interactive exercises. The course supports peer learning through discussions that encourage the sharing of ideas and experiences from a wide variety of contexts.

Course structure

We begin with an introduction to logical and critical thinking and common obstacles and fallacies.

In Week 2 Patrick introduces arguments. We learn to identify premises and conclusions – components of a good argument – and by the end of this week we’ll be able to construct an argument in standard form.

In Week 3 we will learn how to distinguish between deductive and non-deductive arguments and about validity, invalidity, strength and weakness.

In Week 4 we examine good and bad arguments in more detail, learning how to tell when an argument is sound or cogent, and how to evaluate an argument.

Weeks 5-7 examine three familiar areas – science, law, and morality – that call upon our logical and critical thinking skills in ways appropriate to the particular demands of those areas.

Finally in Week 8 we will apply the lessons of the course to an argument “in the wild”, seeing how the skills we have developed over our eight-week journey can be used in our own lives.

There will also be opportunity to interact with your course facilitator or the lead educators.

The teaching team

Course communication

  • Comments and discussion: Please use the comments sections to engage with fellow learners and share your experiences. The educators may also join discussions and conversations at least once every week. If you follow them you can see all their posts. (You will learn about the ability to ‘follow’ people alongside FutureLearn guidelines on the use of social learning tools in the next step.)

In the comments sections on this course you’ll see a search bar. You can search to see if other learners have been talking about a particular topic on a step, and if not then you can be the first to discuss it.

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Logical and Critical Thinking

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