Fall 2022 - PHIL 105 D100

Critical Thinking (3)

Class Number: 7664

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Tu 12:30 PM – 2:20 PM
    SSCB 9201, Burnaby

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Dec 15, 2022
    3:30 PM – 6:30 PM
    SSCC 9000, Burnaby

    Dec 15, 2022
    3:30 PM – 6:30 PM
    SSCC 9001, Burnaby



An introduction to the evaluation of arguments as they are encountered in everyday life. The central aim will be to sharpen skills of reasoning and argumentation by understanding how arguments work and learning to distinguish those which actually prove what they set out to show from those which do not. Open to all students. Students with credit for PHIL XX1 may not take this course for further credit. Q/Breadth-Social Sci/Sciences.


Critical thinking means different things to different people. In this course, it means tools and skills for thinking clearly and reasoning well. Some of these skills are analytic: understanding, representing, and using patterns and methods of reasoning. And some of these skills are evaluative: judging the quality of that reasoning.

This is a course about how to think, and how to understand others’ thinking, not what to think. It will not give you a bunch of facts to memorize, and the exams will mostly not test you on facts. Facts matter! The ultimate purpose of clear thinking and good reasoning is to find, understand, and communicate truth. But our goal is to develop thinking skills you can use to get true beliefs and avoid false ones, in all areas of your life.

We’ll always need some true beliefs to begin with. If we start with too many false beliefs, reasoning skills alone will not be enough. But if we care about truth and are willing to learn about the world so that we have some facts to reason with, the tools of critical thinking are very powerful. Developing them requires hard work, but it’s worth the effort. These tools empower us to better understand the world around us, to recognize when we should change our beliefs, to find and criticize errors in reasoning, and to clearly organize, express, and defend our thoughts. So get ready to think!


  •  Read and reconstruct arguments.
  •  Recognize and construct valid deductive arguments.
  •  Suggest and describe counterexamples and formulate objections.
  •  Recognize and reconstruct explanatory and confirmation reasoning.
  •  Recognize and criticize some common forms of confirmation bias.
  •  Apply rules of probability in simple quantitative problems and in hypothesis testing.
  •  Evaluate reasoning by analogy.
  •  Explain the relevance of sample size and the flaw of a biased sample.
  •  Evaluate causal reasoning in informal and scientific (controlled experiment) contexts.
  •  Formulate and diagram causal explanations

PHIL 105 may be applied towards the Quantitative Requirement, and the Breadth-Social Sciences Requirement OR the Breadth-Science Requirement (but not both; student can choose which Breadth requirement to satisfy and plan enrollment in other courses accordingly).

: PHIL 105 has replaced PHIL XX1. If you have taken PHIL XX1 in the past and you enroll in PHIL 105, it will be considered a repeat.

Videos: Why Study Philosophy? and Meet our professors!


  • In-class exams
  • Exam 1 25%
  • Exam 2 30%
  • Assignment 1 10%
  • Assignment 2 15%
  • Lecture (iClicker) 10%
  • Tutorial participation 10%



We’ll use iClickers (henceforth “clickers”) in lectures. Clickers allow everyone in our large room to respond
to multiple choice questions during class, and allow me to show response statistics to the class. Every clicker
question is scored for participation, and some are scored for correctness. The total clicker mark for the
course (10%) is approximately 6 pts for participation and 4 pts your correctness. The difference between
getting every question right and getting question wrong is normally less than the mark range of a single
letter grade.


PDF course manual distributed through Canvas


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Department Undergraduate Notes:

Thinking of a Philosophy Major or Minor? The Concentration in Law and Philosophy? The Certificate in Ethics? The Philosophy and Methodology of Science Certificate?
Contact the PHIL Advisor at philmgr@sfu.ca   More details on our website: SFU Philosophy

New elective grade policy : P/CR/NC, pilot project in place from Spring 2021 to Summer 2023. List of exclusions for the new policy. Specifically for Philosophy: 

  • Students can use a P or CR to satisfy any requirement for a major, joint major, honours, or minor in Philosophy (with the exception of Honours tutorials).
  • Students can use a P or CR to satisfy any prerequisite requirement for any PHIL course.
  • Students can use a P (but not a CR) to satisfy any requirement for the Ethics Certificate, or the Philosophy and Methodology of Science Certificate.
  • Philosophy Majors and Honours students can use a P (but not a CR) to satisfy any WQB requirement.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating. Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the university community. Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the university. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the university. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html