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FEDERAL DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF ETHIOPIA MINISTRY OF SCIENCE AND HIGHER EDUCATION LOGIC AND CRITICAL THINKING COURSE CODE: PHIL 1011

 

The course, Logic and Critical Thinking, is a high-level thought course in the discipline of philosophy. It is a philosophical inquiry that takes argumentation and reasoning as its basic objects of investigation and attempts to introduce the fundamental concepts of logic and methods of logical argumentation and reasoning and critical thinking. It includes evaluation of the methods by which we form beliefs, weigh evidence, assess hypotheses and arguments, and analyze reasoning. Logic is concerned with the study of arguments, and it seeks to establish the conditions under which an argument may be considered as acceptable or good. It includes the development of standard methods and principles of arguments. Critical thinking is an exercise, a habit, a manner of perception and reasoning that has principles of logic as its fulcrum, and dynamically involves various reasoning skills that ought to be human approach to issues and events of life. Critical thinking means correct thinking in the pursuit of relevant and reliable knowledge about the world. In another way, critical thinking is the reasonable, reflective, responsible, and skillful thinking that focuses on deciding what to believe or do. To think critically is to examine ideas, evaluate them against what you already know and make decisions about their merit. A person who thinks critically can ask appropriate questions, gather relevant information, efficiently and creatively sort through this information, reason logically from this information, and come to reliable and trustworthy conclusions about the world that enable one to live and act successfully in it. When you think critically, you weigh up all sides of an argument and evaluate its validity, strengths and weaknesses. Thus, critical thinking skills entail actively seeking all sides of an argument: evaluating the soundness of the claims asserted and the evidence used to support the claims.

Therefore, this course is designed to help students to develop not only the ability to construct reliable and logically defendable arguments of their own and rationally evaluate the arguments of others, but also the abilities and skills of critical thinking. All education consists of transmitting two different things to students: (1) the subject matter or discipline content of the course ("what to think"), and (2) the correct way to understand and evaluate this subject matter ("how to think"). We may do an excellent job of transmitting the content of our respective academic disciplines, but we often fail to teach students how to think effectively about this subject matter,

By: Teklay G. (AkU), Adane T. (MU), and Zelalem M. (HMU) Page 9

that is, how to properly understand and evaluate it. That means, we often fail to teach how to think critically. Hence, the primary aim of this course is to teach students essential skills of analyzing, evaluating, and constructing arguments, and to sharpen their ability to execute the skills in thinking and writing, and thus better prepare them to succeed in the world. The understanding of the methods by which we develop our own arguments, form beliefs, weigh evidence, assess hypotheses and arguments, and analyze reasoning will help you rationally evaluate the credibility of claims and arguments you encounter in media, in everyday conversation, and in the classroom. You will also learn to become aware of errors in reasoning and judgment, which we all occasionally commit. Finally, you will learn to develop your own arguments with clarity and precision.

Dear learners, this module consists of six important chapters or modules1. The first chapter deals with the basic concepts of philosophy, the meaning and definition of philosophy, the core branches of philosophy, and the importance of learning philosophy. The second chapter of this module is devoted to the basic concepts of logic: the definition and components of arguments, the techniques of recognizing arguments, types of arguments, and evaluation of arguments. The third chapter deals with the relationship between logic and language. It discusses the cognitive and emotive meaning of words, the intensional and extensional meaning of terms, the types and purposes of definitions, and the intensional and extensional definitional techniques, from a philosophical point of view. The basic concepts of critical thinking, (i.e., the meaning and definition of critical thinking, the principles of critical thinking, the factors that affect critical thinking, and the standards of good arguments), is addressed in the fourth chapter. The fifth chapter discusses the various forms of logical errors in arguments, which are commonly known as ‗fallacies‘, with a special emphasis on the categories of informal fallacies. The components, attributes and representations of categorical propositions are discussed in the last chapter of the module.

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