Spring 2022 - PHIL 105 D100

Critical Thinking (3)

Class Number: 7256

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Tu 10:30 AM – 12:20 PM
    WMC 3520, Burnaby

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 20, 2022
    8:30 AM – 11:30 AM
    RCB IMAGTH, 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.


The extent to which we succeed as responsible thinkers, consumers and citizens depends upon at least two skills: how well we analyze and evaluate what we are told by others and how clearly and consistently we think about how to succeed in achieving our individual goals. How else can you avoid being taken in by deceitful politicians, corporations and others who want something from you? And how else might you ensure that the decisions you make are really rational and free from manipulation? The primary aim of this course is to reflect and improve upon these two skills. These skills crucially depend upon our ability to understand the nature of evidence. What counts as good evidence for the truth of some claim? Can evidence ever be deceptive? What is the best way to evaluate complex (or even simple!) explanations of everyday phenomena? How should I adjust my beliefs in light of new evidence? Even if my beliefs about the future are rational, what role do my desires play in determining what course of action to take? These shall be some of our guiding questions, and along the way we shall consider many more.

We shall begin at the beginning: by considering the nature of arguments. We shall consider what makes for a good argument, but we shall also consider a range of poor but deceptive arguments. With this background in the basic tools of critical reasoning, we shall explore a number of its applications: causal reasoning, the confirmation of hypotheses, and reasoning about probability, value and decision-making. By the end of the course, students should be equipped to think clearly about, and to evaluate, fundamental claims and methods in all areas of academic inquiry and in their own day-to-day lives.


PHIL 105 may be applied towards the Certificate in Liberal Arts, 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.



  • Five tutorial quizzes (best five of eight) 20%
  • A midterm examination 35%
  • A final examination 45%


Lecture and tutorials: in person.



Hacking, An Introduction to Probability and Inductive Logic. ISBN: 9780521775014

Other readings will be made available on Canvas.

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 for 2021 and Spring 2022. 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 web site 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


Teaching at SFU in spring 2022 will involve primarily in-person instruction, with safety plans in place.  Some courses will still be offered through remote methods, and if so, this will be clearly identified in the schedule of classes.  You will also know at enrollment whether remote course components will be “live” (synchronous) or at your own pace (asynchronous).

Enrolling in a course acknowledges that you are able to attend in whatever format is required.  You should not enroll in a course that is in-person if you are not able to return to campus, and should be aware that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who may need class or exam accommodations, including in the context of remote learning, are advised to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112) as early as possible in order to prepare for the spring 2022 term.