Critical Reasoning

Critical Reasoning: A Romp Through the Foothills of Logic 

Critical Reasoning

Critical Reasoning

If you’d like to learn how to argue more productively this is the series for you. The series consists of six lectures which cover recognising, analysing and evaluating arguments, distinguishing deduction and induction, and common fallacies. All the lectures are interactive, and there are audio and video versions of each. I have included a set of answer sheets for all the answers to the exercises in the series. You will also find transcripts for all the lectures.

This series is the basis for OUDCE’s short online course on critical reasoning (LINK will go live as soon as the course is advertised). Its first run (in Michaelmas 2014) will be taught by me. Get in early if you want a place!

This series is also the basis of my book Critical Reasoning: A Romp Through the Foothills of Logic



Lecture One: The Nature of Arguments: How to Recognise Arguments (Transcript below)

Lecture Two: Analysing Arguments: How to Identify Premises and Conclusions (Transcript below)

Lecture Three: Deduction and Induction: Classifying Arguments (Transcript below)

Lecture Four: Deductive Validity: Evaluating Deductive Arguments (Transcript below)

Lecture Five: Inductive Strength: Evaluating Inductive Arguments (Transcript below)

Lecture Six: Fallacies: Understanding Where Arguments Go Wrong (Transcript below)

Answers to all the Exercises

Transcripts for all the lectures:

Week one:WK1TheNatureOfArgumentsTranscript

Week two: WK2AnalysingArgumentsTranscript

Week three: WK3DeductionAndInductionTranscript

Week four:Wk4DeductiveValidityTranscript

Week five: Week5InductiveStrengthTranscript

Week six: WK6FallaciesTranscript

13 Responses to Critical Reasoning

  1. Robert says:

    Lecture five: Evaluating Inductive Arguments video is not not complete

    • Marianne says:

      Hi Robert,

      It is not NOT complete? Are you saying it IS complete (and relying on the double negation rule)? Or are you telling me there is something wrong with it? Also, which inductive arguments video do you mean?


  2. Pingback: Another Treasure-Trove of Lectures | Indu Muralidharan

  3. lianruiying says:

    Hi Marianne,

    I love your podcasts, and the transcripts are very help. Thank you!

    I wonder is there a reading list for this lecture?


  4. Riley Hunter says:

    At the very real risk (which is probably a certainty) of sounding like a dick, I’ve just got to email this comment. I am just getting to end of the first lecture of your “The Nature of Argument” which I just love by the way. I wish I was actually in your lectures. However, I am amazed at the inability of the audience to understand what are surely (surely!) enormously simple ideas and furthermore the comments and questions that they interject with, culminating in the climax that is the, “it’s true for Fred” discussion. My goodness. Could anything be more simple than the idea that truth is objective?

    It all solidifies my long-held view that your lectures should be taught to every school child from a young age. It’s far more important than pretty much anything else they learn in school.

    In keeping with the Monty Python theme, your audience reminds me very much of the scene in Holy Grail where the King says to the guards “stay here and make sure he doesn’t leave” and the discussion that ensues. It almost seems like a setup. Did you hand-pick the audience to set that up? Maybe I’m the sucker?

    Or maybe it’s true that I am a dick.

    • Marianne says:

      Dear Riley, I am glad you enjoyed the lectures. Boy you are wrong if you think the ‘it’s true for Fred’ discussion is a sign of stupidity. I also use that example with my graduate students at the various doctoral training centres at which I teach – they get even more missed up than the people in the podcasts. So if you found it very easy you are extremely lucky. I agree with you that young children should be taught logic – it is he part of philosophy that can be taught quite straightforwardly, and is extremely useful. The audience were extremely thoughtful and highly intelligent, educated people – I would certainly hesitate before I accuse them of stupidity. Are you SURE you understand it all?

      • Riley Hunter says:

        Thanks Marianne. I was not really accusing people of being stupid. I din’t use that word although I can see that can be induced from my comment. I’m a big believer in the idea that all people are smart in different ways. While some of us get logic there are other things we might not get quite so easily. I can’t deny the stupidity accusation was buried in there somewhere and it shouldn’t have been. The point I guess is probably moreso that people don’t get these things that 1. seem very simple on their face (to at least some of us) and more importantly, 2. are bordering on indespensible for a useful discussion. I’d love to see this taught to all kids in school. It’d probably solve half the world’s problems.

      • Marianne says:

        There are a few people who simply do not get logic. But I am sure that is true for almost everything. I think you are unusual in finding the Bob ambiguity simple. You are lucky. I too would like to see it taught in schools – but who would do the teaching? Few teachers are philosophy-trained.

  5. Riley Hunter says:

    Quite. I guess if they did teach it as a subject in schools, like maths or history, then education undergrads would learn it themselves and then learn how to teach it in schools. I guess the govt won’t do that because then too many people would see through their nonsense :o). Pity there aren’t more like you. You’re quite an outstanding teacher of this stuff.

  6. Melissa says:

    Marianne, thank you so much for your lovely lectures. I downloaded a few philosophy lectures and I was shocked to hear your voice in both lectures – one from a different series. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it and was pleasantly surprised as I was jogging away in my school gym (I’m 17)! Thank you for the lovely and funny examples, in particular.

    • Marianne says:

      Hi Melissa, I am delighted you enjoyed the podcasts. There are quite a few as you have discovered. Just posted another (Open Day 2018). Good luck with your A levels….what are you hoping to do next?

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