PHIL 259/3.0 - Critical Thinking
Instructor: Dr. Eric Litwack
This course will explore the basic techniques of logical reasoning in everyday life. This subject is fundamental to all rigorous and creative thought because no matter what we direct our attention to, we ought to think clearly and effectively about it. The skills that will be acquired in this course should prove helpful in a wide variety of personal and professional situations. Whether it relates to choosing a career, framing a political argument at a party, or making a key ethical decision, critical thinking techniques and criteria will prove to be invaluable.
At the completion of the course, students enrolled in ENGL 257 will be expected to have gained the following knowledge and skills:
- Be able to distinguish between truth and propaganda, and faulty and sound arguments;
- Be able to argue, write, and speak more effectively; and
- Develop valuable effective thinking skills.
The first field study will be to the Science Museum of London where students will explore a wide variety of well-curated primary artefacts that offer a broad overview of the history and cultural implications of science. Students will be asked to choose one artefact that grips them in order to engage in a creative and lateral thinking exercise that will be linked to class discussions surrounding the philosophy of science.
The second field study will be to the Imperial War Museum where students will visit the Holocaust and Crimes against Humanity exhibits. Students will be asked to reflect upon the political and ethical implications of genocide and racism.
Students will engage with primary material on the field studies visits and will use this research as the basis for the field study assignments.
Students will be evaluated on the following assignments over the two terms of the course:
- An essay of approximately 500 words will be worth 30% of the students’ final grade;
- Two field study assignments of 250 words will be worth 10% of the students’ final grade;
- Class participation will be worth 10% of the students’ final grade; and
- A final exam will be worth 50% of the students’ final grade.