PHIL 1101 - Argument and Critical Thinking

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2018

Argument is an activity we all engage in, with varying results, in every walk of life. Over the last two millennia philosophers have developed powerful methods for classifying arguments, and identifying common errors in reasoning. Argument and Critical Thinking teaches these methods and applies them to real-life arguments, both written and spoken. It is thus an introduction to communication and applied logic. Among the topics we cover are the theory of legal argument, and the science-pseudoscience debate, which gives us a chance to discuss UFOs, parapsychology, Bigfoot, the Bermuda Triangle and alien abductions!

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code PHIL 1101
    Course Argument and Critical Thinking
    Coordinating Unit Philosophy
    Term Semester 1
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Assumed Knowledge ESL students are advised to consult Course Coordinator to discuss enrolment in the course
    Course Description Argument is an activity we all engage in, with varying results, in every walk of life. Over the last two millennia philosophers have developed powerful methods for classifying arguments, and identifying common errors in reasoning. Argument and Critical Thinking teaches these methods and applies them to real-life arguments, both written and spoken. It is thus an introduction to communication and applied logic. Among the topics we cover are the theory of legal argument, and the science-pseudoscience debate, which gives us a chance to discuss UFOs, parapsychology, Bigfoot, the Bermuda Triangle and alien abductions!
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Professor Jennifer McMahon

    Course Coordinator: Dr. Diane Stringer
    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    1. Introduce students to a range of techniques for improving their reasoning and communication skills;
    2. Introduce students to the difference between argument and rhetoric;
    3. Develop in students the ability to understand and analyse arguments, both written and spoken;
    4. Develop in students the ability to identify errors (particularly the classic fallacies) in arguments.
    5. Write clearly structured essays in which arguments are set out, then criticised or defended;
    6. Speak relevantly and effectively about arguments;
    7. Engage in argumentation with their peers in a productive and constructive manner.

    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    1-4
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    1-7
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    6, 7
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    5, 6, 7
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • Able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    7
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
    6, 7
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Theodore Schick and Lewis Vaughn, How To Think About Weird Things, 7th
    edition (McGraw-Hill, 2014). Earlier editions will suffice.

    Recommended Resources
    Munson and Black The Elements of Reasoning (5th edition) or Munson, Conway and Black, The Elements of Reasoning (4th edition).
    Online Learning
    Various online resources are provided and employed in the teaching of this course.  Assessment tasks also involve online engagement.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    Lectures and Tutorials, On-line component
    Workload

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    2 x 1-hour lectures (or equivalent) per week 24 hours per semester
    1 x 1-hour tutorial (or equivalent) per week 12 hours per semester
    4 hours assignment/exam preparation per week 48 hours per semester
    3 hours tutorial preparation per week 36 hours per semester
    3 hours reading per week 36 hours per semester
    TOTAL WORKLOAD 156 hours per semester


     




     

    Learning Activities Summary
    Lectures 1-14: Deduction, Fallacies, Evaluating Arguments
    Lectures 15-24: Legal Reasoning, Induction, Explanation, Fallacies, Rhetoric
    Small Group Discovery Experience
    Tutorial Small Group Discussion on questions provided online in the previous week.
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Essays, Coursework, Exam
    Assessment Related Requirements
    Attendance, participation, completion of tasks, online access
    Assessment Detail
    Essays, Coursework, Exam
    Submission
    See the Philosophy Handbook for details
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy (http://www.adelaide.edu.au/policies/101/) course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.