Arguments and Critical Thinking

Arguments and Critical Thinking is a University of Ibadan Distance Learning course that shows students and general readers how to analyze and evaluate passages of reasoning or argument. The course is divided into ten Study Sessions. In Study Session One, we shall look at the basic concepts that are most central to this course, namely, logic, propositions and arguments. Study Session One will also avail us the opportunity to look at ways of recognizing arguments.

In Study Session Two, we shall look at the structures and types of arguments, namely, deductive and inductive arguments. The distinguishing features between deductive and inductive arguments, the relations between the validity (or invalidity) of deductive arguments and the truth (or falsity) of propositions will be discussed.

In Study Session Three, we shall discuss Basic Valid Argument-Forms which is an aspect of propositional logic. This Study Session will give us the opportunity to know how to determine the validity and invalidity of an argument by looking at the form of the argument. In our discussion of argument-forms, we shall examine the following nine argument- forms:Modus Ponens, Modus Tollens, Hypothetical Syllogism, Disjunctive Syllogism, Simplification, Addition, Conjunction, Constructive Dilemma, Destructive Dilemma.

In Study Sessions Four, Five and Six, we shall discuss Informal Fallacies. These Study Sessions will strengthen our ability to identify and explain how ordinary language sentences can easily lead us to fallacies of reasoning.More specifically, we shall discuss Fallacies of Relevance, Fallacies of Ambiguity and Fallacies of Presumption in Study Sessions Four, Five and Six respectively.

In Study Session Seven, we shall explore the term “dispute” and its relation to definition by looking at three categories of disputes, namely, obvious genuine dispute, merely verbal disputes and apparently verbal but really genuine disputes.

In Study Session Eight, we shall discuss definitions and their uses by examining six types of definition, namely, stipulative, lexical, précising, theoretical, persuasive and ostensive definitions.

In Study Session Nine, we shall discuss the Rules for Definition by Genus and Difference with a view to showing thoughtful selection of the most appropriate genus for any term to be defined. Finally, in Study Session Ten, we shall look at a number of Logical Puzzles which require skill or ingenuity for their solutions. 

Arguments and Critical Thinking Course Manual

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