Philosophy (PHIL) 252

Critical Thinking (Revision 8)

PHIL 252 course cover

Revision 8 is closed for registrations, replaced by current version

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Delivery Mode: Individualized study online

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Humanities

Prerequisite: None

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

Philosophy home page

PHIL 252 has a Challenge for Credit option.

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PHIL 252 is designed to improve a student's ability to analyse and evaluate the kinds of arguments and theories commonly met with in everyday life. The course also helps students improve their own arguments and presentations by showing them how to draw sound conclusions from available evidence and how to construct well-reasoned cases to support these conclusions.

Although the course focuses on the informal logic of everyday language, it includes some training in elementary formal logic. A student is taught how to apply fundamental rules and standards of logical reasoning to the sorts of arguments encountered in newspapers, magazines and other media, and university-level textbooks in most fields.


  • Unit 1: Introduction: The Language of Argumentation
  • Unit 2: Analysing Arguments: Content and Structure
  • Unit 3: Evaluating Arguments: Validity, Soundness, and Problems of Interpretation
  • Unit 4: Syllogistic Reasoning
  • Unit 5: Common Fallacies of Reasoning
  • Unit 6: Nondeductive Arguments
  • Unit 7: The Use and Misuse of Statistics
  • Unit 8: Explanations and Empirical Theories
  • Unit 9: Conceptual Theories and Definitions
  • Unit 10: Writing a Short Critical Essay


To receive credit for PHIL 252, you must submit every piece of written work and achieve a course composite grade of at least “D” (50 percent). The weighting of the composite grade is as follows:

Assignment 1 Assignment 2 Critical Essay Final Exam Total
15% 20% 25% 40% 100%

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials


Cederblom, Jerry, and David W. Paulsen. Critical Reasoning: Understanding and Criticizing Arguments and Theories. 7th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 2012.

Huff, Darrell. How to Lie With Statistics. 1st ed., 1982.

Other Materials

Students will access all other course materials online.

Challenge for Credit Course Overview

The Challenge for Credit process allows students to demonstrate that they have acquired a command of the general subject matter, knowledge, intellectual and/or other skills that would normally be found in a university level course.

Full information for the Challenge for Credit can be found in the Undergraduate Calendar.

Challenge Evaluation

To receive credit for the PHIL 252 challenge registration, you must complete the two parts of the challenge exam and achieve a grade of at least “D” (50 percent) on both parts.

Essay Exam Total
40% 60% 100%

Undergraduate Challenge for Credit Course Registration Form

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 8, September 2, 2011

View previous syllabus

Updated April 03 2019 by SAS