Critical Reasoning: A Romp Through the Foothills of Logic (Online)

Course summary

  • Wed 26 Apr 2017 to Fri 07 Jul 2017
  • Online
  • From £255.00
  • 10 CATS points
  • Course code O16P505PHV
  • Applications being accepted

Critical Reasoning: A Romp Through the Foothills of Logic (Online)


Reasoning enables us to acquire knowledge, to persuade others, and to evaluate their arguments. But only if we reason well. We shall be learning how to recognise, evaluate, construct and analyse arguments, and how to recognise common fallacies (bad arguments that look like good arguments). This will give you confidence in your ability to reason well.

Reasoning is central to the life of a human being. Without it we would be restricted to learning through our senses and immediate experiences. Reasoning can take us, literally, to the moon and back. Reasoning enables us to theorise about our world, to persuade others of our theories and to evaluate theirs. But reasoning can do this only if we do it well. Bad reasoning takes us nowhere. In this course we shall be looking at how to recognise and evaluate arguments, how to construct and analyse arguments and how to recognise common fallacies (bad arguments that look like good arguments). By the end of this course you should be more confident about your everyday reasoning, your ability to present a good case to others, and your ability to distinguish a good argument from a bad one.

Listen to Marianne Talbot talking about the course:

For information on how the courses work, and a link to our course demonstration site, please click here.

Programme details

Unit One: The Nature of Argument:
In this unit well learn how to recognize arguments and distinguish them from other sets of sentences, and from assertions, especially conditional assertions.

Unit Two: Analysing Arguments
In this unit well look at how to analyse arguments and set them out logic-book style. This makes it much easier to see the structure of the argument (which in turn makes it much easier to evaluate the argument)

Unit Three: Deduction and Induction
This is the unit in which well learn how to distinguish deductive arguments from inductive arguments. Deduction and induction are two quite different types of argument. All arguments fall into one category or the other. The two types of argument are evaluated quite differently.

Unit Four: Induction, Popper and the Paradoxes of Confirmation
In this unit well be stepping back from critical reasoning to consider the philosophy of critical reasoning. In particular well be considering the nature of induction and some problems endemic to inductive reasoning.

Unit Five Types Of Induction
Having got to grips with the problems endemic to inductive reasoning we shall now consider the different types of inductive reasoning, and look at how to evaluate them.

Unit Six: Deduction, Validity And Truth
In this unit well consider how to evaluate deductive arguments. Well start by reflecting on the notions of validity, entailment and truth. Then well look at the process by which all deductive arguments are evaluated.

Unit Seven: The Rudiments, Purpose and Limits of Formalisation
In this unit and the next we shall be looking at the rudiments of formalisation. Why do logicians use symbols? How do they help? In unit seven we shall ourselves learn how to formalise simple arguments.

Unit Eight: The Rules of Propositional Logic
Having learned in the last unit how to formalize simple arguments we shall now learn how to apply a set of mechanical rules by which to test these formalized arguments.

Unit Nine: Fallacies
The last two units have been tough. This unit will be a bit of relaxation. In this unit well learn about fallacies. These are bad arguments that look like, and can easily be mistaken for, good arguments. Youll do some research of your own into particular types of fallacy.

Unit Ten: Analysing Complex Arguments
In this, our final unit, youll be set the task of analyzing a complex argument. Half of you will analyse a complex inductive argument, the other half a complex deductive argument.

We strongly recommend that you try to find a little time each week to engage in the online conversations (at times that are convenient to you) as the forums are an integral, and very rewarding, part of the course and the online learning experience.

Recommended reading

To participate in the course you will need to have regular access to the Internet and you will need to buy the following e-book:

Talbot, Marianne Critical Reasoning: A romp through the foothills of logic available from: or

A verions for Kindle is available from Amazon


To earn credit (CATS points) for your course you will need to register and pay an additional £10 fee for each course you enrol on. You can do this by ticking the relevant box at the bottom of the enrolment form or when enrolling online. If you do not register when you enrol, you have up until the course start date to register and pay the £10 fee.

For more information on CATS point please click on the link below:

Coursework is an integral part of all online courses and everyone enrolled will be expected to do coursework, but only those who have registered for credit will be awarded CATS points for completing work at the required standard. If you are enrolled on the Certificate of Higher Education you need to indicate this on the enrolment form but there is no additional registration fee.

Assignments are not graded but are marked either pass or fail.

All students who successfully complete this course, whether registered for credit or not, are eligible for a Certificate of Completion. Completion consists of submitting both course assignments and actively participating in the course forums. Certificates will be available, online, for those who qualify after the course finishes.

IT requirements

This course is delivered online; to participate you must to be familiar with using a computer for purposes such as sending email and searching the Internet. You will also need regular access to the Internet and a computer meeting our recommended minimum computer specification.


Home/EU Fee: £255.00
Non-EU Fee: £295.00
Take this course for CATS points: £10.00


Dr Julia Weckend


Julia has taught at the Universities of Southampton and Reading before joining the OUDCE in 2014. Her teaching focus, very broadly, is on epistemology and metaphysics. 

Course aims

This course aims to:

  • introduce participants to the nature of arguments and the different types of arguments;
  • help participants learn how to evaluate arguments of the different types;
  • encourage participants to acquire the language of logic;
  • enhance participants confidence in everyday reasoning and argument.

Course Objectives
This course will help particiapnts to:

  • understand what an argument is
  • recognise arguments
  • analyse arguments
  • distinguish deductive arguments from inductive arguments
  • evaluate inductive and deductive arguments
  • understand formal and informal fallacies
  • understand the rudiments of formalisation
  • apply the rules of propositional logic

Teaching methods

  • Guided reading of texts
  • Group discussions of particular issues
  • Questions to be answered in personal folders
  • Debating from positions given rather than from personal belief (to hone skills of debate)

Teaching outcomes

By the end of this course students will be expected to understand:

  • how to recognise arguments, distinguish them from conditional sentences and sets of sentences that are not arguments, and set them out logic-book-style
  • understand the difference between deduction and induction, and the different types of each argument-type and how they are distinguished from each other;
  • evaluate arguments by testing them for validity or inductive strength, and checking the truth of their premises;
  • understand and recognise common fallacies.

By the end of this course students will have gained the following skills:

  • confidence in everyday reasoning and argument;
  • the ability to distinguish deduction and induction and recognise the strengths and weaknesses of each;
  • the skills involved in analysing arguments and setting them out logic-book-style
  • an understanding of how to evaluate arguments of different types

Assessment methods

Assessment for this course is based on two written assignments - one short assignment due half way through the course and one longer assignment due at the end of the course. Students will have about two weeks to complete each assignment.

Assignments are not graded but are marked either pass or fail.


Please use the 'Book' or 'Apply' button on this page. Alternatively, please contact us to obtain an application form.

Level and demands

FHEQ level 4, 10 weeks, approx 10 hours per week, therefore a total of about 100 study hours.