Reason and Argument

University of Reading

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Reason and Argument

  • Host University

    University of Reading

  • Location

    Reading, England

  • Area of Study


  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • ECTS Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    Module Provider: Philosophy
    Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
    Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
    Non-modular pre-requisites:
    Modules excluded:
    Module version for: 2016/7

    Summary module description:
    This module enhances students? ability to understand and construct complex arguments through the study of logic and the psychology of human reasoning.


    A module guide will be available for purchase in hardcopy or available for free in pdf.


    Jamie Carlin Watson and Robert Arp, Critical Thinking: An Introduction to Reasoning Well, 2nd edition, Bloomsbury, 2015.
    This module will introduce you to the basic concepts and methods of critical thinking, basic logic, and the psychology of reasoning. We will explore the ways in which philosophy supplies the tools for reasoning logically and analytically, not just about abstract theories but about problems and situations in real life. You will be introduced to techniques for evaluating claims and arguments, assessing evidence, and justifying your beliefs. A mix of lectures, seminars, structured reading, assignments, and class discussion will furnish you with the skills essential for critical and reflective thinking. These skills are essential both to further study in philosophy and to other areas of academic work. The module will provide a foundation for the complex cognitive work that will be at the centre of your future life and career. This module is compulsory for all students intending to continue with Philosophy in part 2.

    Assessable learning outcomes:
    By the end of the module you will understand:
    ?what logical reasoning is and why it matters
    ?a variety of argument forms and styles, formal and informal, deductive and inductive
    ?how to construct and evaluate basic argument forms
    ?a range of common logical fallacies and cognitive biases, and how to recognize and avoid them
    ?how to analyse and evaluate passages of reasoning from contemporary and historical sources
    ?how to begin to represent arguments using formal methods and to recognise the symbols used in formal logic.
    Additional outcomes:
    You will also receive:
    ?training in how to write a philosophy essay.
    ?preparation for study of more advanced logic modules, which will examine the techniques of modern formal logic in greater depth.
    Outline content:
    Schedule of topics to be covered:
    1) Critical thinking, reason and argument
    2) Good and bad arguments
    3) Logical fallacies & cognitive biases
    4) Research skills and philosophical essay writing
    5) Argument structure and categorical logic
    6) Propositional logic
    7) Truth tables and validity
    8) Inductive and statistical reasoning
    9) Transferrable skills
    10) The limits of logic
    Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
    Teaching will be by means of weekly interactive lectures and a weekly seminar. In the seminars, students will practice the techniques presented in lectures, work through examples and case studies, and engage in intensive discussion.

    Contact hours:
    Lectures- 20
    Seminars- 10
    Guided independent study- 170
    Total hours by term- 200
    Total hours for module- 200

    Summative Assessment Methods:
    Written assignment including essay- 100%

    Other information on summative assessment:
    Assignment 1: 50%
    Assignment 2: 50%.
    Formative assessment methods:
    Weekly homework assignments discussed in seminars.

    Length of examination:
    Two hours (in-class)

    Requirements for a pass:
    A mark of 40% overall.

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Re-examination in August by written examination only

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Some courses may require additional fees.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.

ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) credits are converted to semester credits/quarter units differently among U.S. universities. Students should confirm the conversion scale used at their home university when determining credit transfer.

Please reference fall and spring course lists as not all courses are taught during both semesters.

Please note that some courses with locals have recommended prerequisite courses. It is the student's responsibility to consult any recommended prerequisites prior to enrolling in their course.


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