Philosophy (PHIL) 152

Basics in Critical Thinking, Reading, and Writing (Revision 7)

PHIL 152 course cover

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Delivery Mode: Individualized study online

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Humanities

Prerequisite: None

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

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PHIL 152 is a pre-university-level, three-credit course designed to help you develop basic critical thinking, reading, and writing skills in preparation for more advanced university-level work. The course teaches an active, critical approach to develop skills in evaluating reading that is extended to your own written work. Critical thinking involves making judgements (such as whether or not to believe a certain statement), analyzing qualities of passages, and evaluating comparative worth. As a reader, a critical stance enables you to assess implications and draw justifiable conclusions from materials you encounter. As a writer, you will develop effective methods for approaching, planning, and completing related writing assignments.


Part A: Comprehension and Organizational Skills

  • Unit 1: Critical Thinking: Three Step Method and Three Point Focus
  • Unit 2: Active Reading and Critical Thinking
  • Unit 3: Grammar, Punctuation, and Meaning
  • Unit 4: Generating and Organizing Ideas
  • Unit 5: Writing Functions

Part B: Evaluation

  • Unit 6: Argument Analysis and Evaluation
  • Unit 7: Deductive Arguments
  • Unit 8: Inductive Arguments
  • Unit 9: Fallacies and Essay Writing

Learning Outcomes

This course is designed to help you become a critical thinker; a more alert and critical reader; and a writer who is better able to both assess the reasonableness of your own ideas, and to communicate them clearly and effectively. When you have completed this course you should be able to:

  1. Analyse and understand the content of complex university-level material.
  2. Plan, write, and edit paragraphs and short essays to maximize the clarity and effectiveness of communication.
  3. Identify errors, omissions, and faulty reasoning, both in reading materials and in your own work.
  4. Evaluate ideas in reading materials.
  5. Examine and formulate your own thinking processes more effectively.


Your final mark for Philosophy 152: Basics in Critical Thinking, Reading, and Writing is based on your grades in five written assignments, as well as two activities and two skills modules.To receive credit for PHIL 152, you must complete all assignments and achieve a composite course grade of at least D (50 percent). The weighting of the composite grade is as follows:

Activity Weighting
Study Plan and Introductory Forum 2%
Assignment 1 10%
Assignment 2 10%
Academic Integrity Skills Module 2%
MLA Documentation Skills Module 2%
Assignment 3 14%
Assignment 4a 25%
Assignment 4b 35%
Total 100%

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

Course Materials


Flachmann, Kim, Michael Flachmann, Alexandra MacLennan, and Jamie Zeppa. Reader’s Choice: Essays for Thinking, Reading, and Writing. 7th Canadian ed. Toronto: Pearson, 2013.

Other Materials

This course includes two online study guides.

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 7, January 12, 2017.

View previous syllabus