Philosophy (PHIL) 252

Critical Thinking (Revision 10)

PHIL 252 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 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. Students are 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: Analyzing 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 you must complete and submit all of the assignments and write the final exam. You must achieve an overall grade of at least D (50 percent) for the course. Your final grade in the course will be based on the marks achieved for the following activities.

Activity Weighting
Assignment 1 20%
Assignment 2 25%
Critical Essay 25%
Final Exam 30%
Total 100%

The final examination for this course must be taken online with an AU-approved exam invigilator at an approved invigilation centre. It is your responsibility to ensure your chosen invigilation centre can accommodate online exams. For a list of invigilators who can accommodate online exams, visit the Exam Invigilation Network.

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. Boston, MA: Wadsworth, 2012. (PDF)

Huff, Darrell. How to Lie with Statistics. 1st ed., 1954.

Other Materials

Students will access all other course materials online.

Challenge for Credit Overview

The Challenge for Credit process allows you to demonstrate that you 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 about 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.

Activity Weighting
Two short essays 40%
Exam 60%
Total 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 10, August 11, 2020.

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