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Critical Thinking

Course Times & Enrolment

Monday 25th September 2023, (Code PH138-101) Monday 25th September 2023, 10:00am - 4:00pm • (One-day course) B1.09 Outreach Centre, Holyrood Campus • Tutor: Elizabeth Drummond Young MA MSc PhD
This course is now closed for enrolments

Course Summary

This course introduces students to the fundamentals of critical thinking. It will cover the basic structure and components of arguments, as well as some of the common fallacies in reasoning. Through practical exercises, students will strengthen their skills in identifying and evaluating arguments.

There will be a break between 13:00 and 14:00.

Course Details

Content of Course

The course proceeds in three steps. First, students will learn how to identify arguments in different communication contexts. Second, the course will show students how to reconstruct arguments in a simple logical form. This reconstruction allows them to evaluate the arguments and decide whether they are purely valid (a formal requirement) or sound (an argument which is valid and has true premises). Third, the course will introduce the difference between deductive and inductive arguments, as well as some common fallacies and rhetorical devices associated with both types of argument.

Teaching method(s)

Each session will be led by a presentation which will contain a series of exercises covering major points. The emphasis will be on learning through these exercises and encouraging students to provide their own examples. A workbook with further exercises and the answers will also be provided. 

Learning outcomes

On completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. identify arguments and clearly express them in their own words;

  2. reconstruct arguments in simple logical form;

  3. evaluate simple arguments for their validity and soundness;

  4. recognise common fallacies in reasoning.


Core Readings

There is no essential reading. The recommended titles below may be of interest in following up the themes discussed in the course.

  • Bowell, T., Cowan, R. and Kemp, G., 2019. Critical Thinking: A Concise Guide. 5th ed. Abingdon: Routledge.

  • Chatfield, T., 2017. Critical Thinking: Your Guide to Effective Argument, Successful Analysis and Independent Study. London: Bloomsbury. London: Sage.

  • Van Cleave, M., 2016. Introduction to Logic and Critical Thinking. Open Textbook Library [online]. Available at:


If you have questions regarding the course or enrolment, please contact COL Reception at Paterson's Land by email or by phone 0131 650 4400.

Student support

If you have a disability, learning difficulty or health condition which may affect your studies, please let us know by ticking the 'specific support needs' box on your course application form. This will allow us to make appropriate adjustments in advance and in accordance with your rights under the Equality Act 2010. For more information please visit the Student Support section of our website.