• Unit 1: Introduction and Meaning Analysis

    Critical thinking is a broad classification for a diverse array of reasoning techniques. In general, critical thinking works by breaking arguments and claims down to their basic underlying structure so we can see them clearly and determine whether they are rational. The idea is to help us do a better job of understanding and evaluating what we read, what we hear, and what we ourselves write and say.

    In this unit, we will define the broad contours of critical thinking and learn why it is a valuable and useful object of study. We will also introduce the fundamentals of meaning analysis: the difference between literal meaning and implication, the principles of definition, how to identify when a disagreement is merely verbal, the distinction between necessary and sufficient conditions, and problems with the imprecision of ordinary language.

    Completing this unit should take you approximately 5 hours.

    • 1.1: Introduction to Critical Thinking

    • 1.2: Meaning Analysis

        • 1.2.1: The Elements of Meaning

        • 1.2.2: Necessary and Sufficient Conditions

        • 1.2.3: Thinking Critically about Ordinary Language

      • 1.3: Assessing Sources