In print, online and in conversation, we frequently encounter conflicting views on important issues: from climate change, vaccinations and current political events to economic policy, healthy lifestyles and parenting. It can be difficult to know how to make up one’s own mind when confronted with such diverse viewpoints.
This course teaches you how to critically engage with different points of view. You are given some guidelines that will help you decide to what extent to trust the person, organisation, website or publication defending a certain position. You are also shown how to assess others’ views and arrive at your own point of view through reasoning. We discuss examples of both reasoning about facts and the reasoning required in making practical decisions. We distinguish risky inferences with probable conclusions from risk-free inferences with certain conclusions. You are shown how to spot and avoid common mistakes in reasoning.
No previous knowledge of critical thinking or logic is needed. This course will be enjoyed by those who relish the challenge of thinking rationally and learning new skills. The skills and concepts taught will also be useful when studying other areas of philosophy.