Course Plan And Assignment Schedule

PHL 276: Critical Thinking

Note: This course plan is subject to change at the instructor's discretion. Students are expected to check this page frequently to remain abreast of any updates.

Course Organization

The following list of topics is chronological in order and gives the general themes into which our assignments will fall over the course of the term.

Introduction to Critical Thinking

  • Weeks 1-3: What Critical Thinking Is, The Concept of Judgment

Working with Language

  • Week 4: Using and Analyzing Definitions

Conversations, Claims, Context: the Dialectical Setting

  • Week 5-7: Conversational Norms, Dialogue Types, Understanding and Evaluating Claims


  • Weeks 7-12: Argument Types and Standards of Evaluation

Tying it All Together: Constructing and Giving Arguments

  • Weeks 12-15: Debate, Persuasion and Argumentation, Giving and Responding to Objections

Specific dates and assignment details are given below in the Course Calendar. Remember to use the "Agenda" view and click on "more details" to get full text and active links.

The whole term is planned out on this calendar. Click on the entry for any day to see what readings and work are assigned for that day. If you have a gmail account you can incorporate the events on this calendar into your own rather easily so that you may access them from your own computer or smartphone.


  1. In some cases the schedule must be viewed by clicking on "Agenda" at the top right box in order for all the text put down for a given day to be visible.
  2. Clicking on "more detail" at the bottom of an entry will display clickable links to readings, etc..

List of Readings and Other Media

We have no textbook in this class. Instead we will use electronically accessible journal articles and other media. Below is a listing of these items. Consult the detailed course plan for specific readings and assignments. Note that access to the journal articles comes via our library. Thus, if you have trouble accessing the articles the first place you should go for help is the reference desk at the library. Please be aware that computer problems of any kind will not excuse anyone from the responsibility to do the work of the class. Please plan ahead.


Understanding Judgments

Making Judgments: A Rough Guide

Summary Graphic: Making Judgments

Language and its Uses

Using Language with Clarity and Precision

Understanding Claims

Dealing with Value Conflicts

Presentation Slides for Intro to Arguments and Argumentation Lecture

Introductory Handout on Argumentation: Key Terms and Flow Chart

Douglas Walton, "Types of Dialogue, Dialectical Shifts and Fallacies"

Arguments: Deductive Argument Forms

Stylistic Variants for Logical Terms in Deductive Argument Forms

Handout: Arguments from Expert Authority

Unrepresentative Samples (and Other Statistical Fallacies)


Direct Link:

Debate Team Assignments and Propositions

Click here to view debate team assignments, propositions to be debated, and other details. This document will be updated as pro and con teams are assigned and as new propositions are announced. You can review the format and individual requirements for the debates by going to the Debate Page.

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