Critical Thinking

Critical Thinking

Spring semester
Dr. Robin Shochat Bagon
Office hours by appointment
Gilman 357ג


Short description:
Critical thinking is a set of skills which touches upon almost every aspect of academic activity. Effective reading relies on the ability to analyze and appraise the arguments of others and all academic writing depends on the successful construction of effective arguments. Critical Thinking is a class which explores in a systematic manner how arguments operate. We break down arguments into their structural elements and examine the underlying logic of a number of commonly used forms. In addition, we study a range of fallacies to understand how errors in argumentation are commonly made. The tools of critical thinking are applied to a range of real texts and arguments which may include such topics as acupuncture, creationism, paranormal activity and homeopathy. Ultimately the class provides students with a clearer sense of what they ought to believe by providing the tools to critically appraise what may or may not be true.


For Liberal Arts students:
Presentation 20%
Four short tasks 20%
Final assignment (6 pages, completed at home) 60%


For OSP and International School students:
Presentation 16%
Four short tasks 16%
Additional assignment (2 pages, completed at home) 20%
Final assignment (6 pages, completed at home) 48%

Attendance is mandatory. Students are permitted a maximum of three unexcused absences without penalty. Any additional absences will affect the final grade and may result in failure of the course.


Academic conduct:
Plagiarism is taken extremely seriously. Any instance of academic misconduct which includes: submitting someone else’s work as your own; failure to accurately cite sources; taking words from another source without using quotation marks; submission of work for which you have previously received credit; working in a group for individual assignments; using unauthorized materials in an exam and sharing your work with other students, will result in failure of the assignment and will likely lead to further disciplinary measures.


Additional requirements:
You will need to bring a laptop computer to classes but use of social media, email etc. is strictly prohibited during classes.

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