Critical Thinking trains students to form and enhance their ability of being reflective and reasonable in forming opinions and taking decisions, as well as when evaluating positions taken by others, within or out of the confines of one's specialized area. The course will emphasize the need of a high standard for the precision of language used for expressing ideas and evaluating the realities of our world. The advantages of shaping a large proportion of one's thinking into the form of an argument, i.e., requiring that all claims are defended with appropriate reasons and evidence, will be outlined. The course also contains a discussion of the various approaches to scientific inquiry, such as induction and deduction, as well as a presentation of logical fallacies that are barriers to critical thinking, including examples taken from scientific research. Furthermore, the course aims to teach students to ask the right questions when confronted with their peers' ideas and opinions, as well as to properly defend their own, in particular with respect to soundly evaluating conditional and cause-effect relationships, thus helping to properly identify problems and their possible solutions. They will also learn to point out and avoid vagueness, ambiguities, lack of evidence, weaknesses in argumentation, inconsistencies, and omissions in written and oral communications.
By the end of this course, students will:
1. understand the importance of critical thinking for their proper functioning in and out of their professional activity.
2. acquire and enhance the ability to recognize their own or other people's valid and sound arguments.
3. avoid critical thinking lapses that could prevent them from forming the right opinion on a topic or performing the optimal action
4. function better in their future workplace, particularly in cases when they are expected to expand knowledge and advance progress in different areas valuable to society or train others to do so.
critical thinking, claim, evidence, argument, logical support
|Specialist skills||Intercultural skills||✔ Communication skills||✔ Critical thinking skills||✔ Practical and/or problem-solving skills|
The course will be offered once per academic year, in 3Q. Students will attend the classes for 8 weeks, in Ookayama campus. Main format of each class will be a lecture given by the instructor, with students as audience and participating in class exercises. A number of individual written homeworks will be assigned, which will be evaluated by the instructor, to weigh the most on final grade.
|Course schedule||Required learning|
|Class 1||September 26(Thursday), 13: 20-14: 50, Ookayama W541 Importance and role of Critical Writing||Importance of Critical Thinking for ensuring one's personal autonomy in life in general as well as in their chosen profession.|
|Class 2||October 3(Thursday), 13: 20-14: 50, Ookayama W541 Clarifying meaning by use of proper language as a prerequisite of Critical Thinking||Importance of correctly defining concepts precisely, unambiguously and specifically.|
|Class 3||October 17(Thursday), 13: 20-14: 50, Ookayama W541 Assertions and Basics of Arguments||Components of an argument, and how to distinguish an argument from other kinds of logical discourse.|
|Class 4||October 24(Thursday), 13: 20-14: 50, Ookayama W541 Evaluating the validity and acceptability of arguments||How to evaluate for logical support inside an argument and what other conditions are necessary in order to accept the conclusion of an argument.|
|Class 5||October 31(Thursday), 13: 20-14: 50, Ookayama W541 Particular types of argumentative discourse I; exemplification and importance in science and technology||Using the correct terminology in recognizing particular types of reasoning, with emphasis of validity and acceptability of such arguments.|
|Class 6||November 7(Thursday), 13: 20-14: 50, Ookayama W541 Particular types of argumentative discourse II; exemplification and importance in science and technology||Using the correct terminology in recognizing particular types of reasoning, with emphasis of validity and acceptability of such arguments.|
|Class 7||November 14(Thursday), 13: 20-14: 50, Ookayama W541 Logical Fallacies of Critical Thinking||How to avoid critical thinking lapses that could prevent forming the right position on a topic or performing the optimal action, with emphasis on societal problems and their solutions.|
None-learning materials will be provided by instructors
A Practical Guide to Critical Thinking by David A. Hunter
80% homework assignments, 20% participation in class activities