Last updated : 20 Oct 2016

Think Again: How to Reason and Argue

Summary

This series of four short courses will teach you how to do it well. You will learn simple but vital rules to follow in thinking about any topic at all and common and tempting mistakes to avoid in reasoning. We will discuss how to identify, analyze, and evaluate arguments by other people (including politicians, used car salesmen, and teachers) and how to construct arguments of your own in order to help you decide what to believe or what to do. These skills will be useful in dealing with whatever matters most to you.

Programme

Part of the .

Reasoning, Data Analysis, and Writing Specialization

Course Syllabus

PART I: HOW TO ANALYZE ARGUMENTS

Week 1: How to Spot an ArgumentWeek 2: How to Untangle an Argument Week 3: How to Reconstruct an Argument Quiz #1: At the end of Week 3, students will take their first quiz. 

PART II: HOW TO EVALUATE DEDUCTIVE ARGUMENTS

Week 4: Propositional Logic and Truth Tables Week 5: Categorical Logic and Syllogisms Week 6: Representing InformationQuiz #2: At the end of Week 6, students will take their second quiz. 

PART III: HOW TO EVALUATE INDUCTIVE ARGUMENTS

Week 7: Inductive Arguments Week 8: Causal Reasoning Week 9: Chance and Choice Quiz #3: At the end of Week 9, students will take their third quiz. 

PART IV: HOW TO MESS UP ARGUMENTS

Week 10: Fallacies of Unclarity Week 11: Fallacies of Relevance and of Vacuity Week 12: Refutation Quiz #4: At the end of Week 12, students will take their fourth quiz.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course you will be able to:

  • identify some common and tempting mistakes to avoid in reasoning
  • identify, analyze, and evaluate arguments by other people (including politicians, used car salesmen, and teachers)
  • construct arguments of your own in order to help you decide what to believe or what to do

Teaching-Learning methodology

Each week will be divided into multiple video segments that can be grouped as three lectures or viewed separately. There will be short exercises after each segment (to check comprehension) and several longer midterm quizzes. Forum discussions as an additional content agora.

Assessment

many exercises after each lectures4 midterm quizzesEvery student who achieves an average grade of 70 or better on the four quizzes will receive a Statement of Accomplishment signed by the professors. Every student who achieves an average grade of 85 or better on the four quizzes will receive a Statement of Accomplishment With Distinction signed by the professors.

  • Soft skills Communication, Problem solving
  • Language English
  • Other languages (eg. Subtitles) Subtitles: Italian, Spanish, Portuguese (Brazilian), Chinese (Simplified)
  • Period of activation Periodicaly opened
  • Date Unknown
  • Duration 12 weeks of study
  • Level of commitment required 5-6 hours/week
  • Cost Free MOOC, Paying certification * See platform for details
  • Providing institution Duke University
  • Mooc Platform Coursera
  • Target group This material is appropriate for introductory college students or advanced high school students—or, indeed, anyone who is interested. No special background is required other than knowledge of English.Students who want more detailed explanations or additional exercises or who want to explore these topics in more depth should consult . Understanding Arguments: An Introduction to Informal Logic
  • Instructor prof. Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, prof. Ram Neta
  • Level of assistance offered Forums (monitored by the instructors).Community TAs - a group of extremely talented people who did well in this course when it was offered last year and have generously agreed to help us with the course during this offering. They will monitor and comment in the forums.No e-mails contact with instructors.
  • Keywords Communication, problem solving, reasoning, argumentation, discussion