Critical Thinking

Critical thinking skills are vital but most of us are not naturally good at evaluating the reasons to believe something. Luckily we can improve our critical thinking skills. In this course, you will learn to identify and avoid typical errors in reasoning that people make along with practical techniques to boost your critical thinking skills.


Course outline

  • The structure of an argument: statements, premises, and conclusions. Presenting an argument in standard form. Suppressed premises and/or conclusion.
  • Deductive and non-deductive arguments: entailment, validity, soundness, strong suggestion and cogent arguments.
  • Engaging with arguments: a practical approach to argument detection, analysis and evaluation.
  • Critical thinking tools: assigning the burden of proof, the principle of charity, irreverence, finding counter-examples.
  • Fallacious reasoning: descriptions of common errors in reasoning that occur in bad arguments.
  • Different kinds of arguments: arguments by analogy, reasoning in science, and arguments using statistics.

Learning outcomes

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

  • Recognise arguments, their components, and different types of reasoning
  • Employ techniques to evaluate how good an argument is (and identify bad arguments)
  • Understand and avoid typical errors in reasoning
  • Construct good arguments

Who should attend?

This course is aimed at anyone who would like to learn how to improve their critical and logical thinking skills. No special background is required but a good command of English is desirable.


  • 6 x Wednesdays, 6 March - 10 April, 6:30 - 8:30pm
  • $185.00 incl. GST
  • The University of Auckland, City Campus
  • Presented by Daniel Wilson

Seminar presenter

Daniel Wilson

Daniel Wilson

Doctoral Candidate

Daniel Wilson has a PhD in philosophy and has lectured at the University of Auckland and Massey University in theories of knowledge (epistemology), ancient Greek philosophy and the philosophy of art. He has also taught many other philosophy papers, including critical thinking.

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