Critical Reasoning

Subject HPSC20021 (2013)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2013.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 2 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2013:

January, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

1. Taught intensively on-campus 14 January - 1 February 2013


2. Semester 1

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: Intensive: 4-hours of classes per day over 3 weeks: 14,15,17,18, 21,22,24,25, 29,30,31 January and 1 February 2013. A 2-hour examination on 8 February. Semester 1: 4-hours of classes per week for 12 weeks.
Total Time Commitment:

Intensively taught: 16 contact hours each week for 3 weeks plus additional 20 hours per week for 3 weeks.

Semester 1: 4 contact hours/week, 5 additional hours/week. Total of 9 hours per week over 12 weeks.





Recommended Background Knowledge:


Non Allowed Subjects:


Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry. The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


Neil Thomason

Subject Overview:

Thinking clearly is a set of skills. Like all skills, learning it takes practice and rapid, reliable feedback. This subject provides such practice and feedback to help you develop your ability to think more clearly, analyze other people’s arguments better, and improve your own writing. We will address the essential features of good arguments and how they can be articulated and represented. We will also examine many ways reasoning can go wrong and how to avoid this. While we will have some discussion of theory, our main focus will be on practical techniques for more effective reasoning. This subject should substantially enhance students' performance in university subjects that emphasize clear thinking and writing.


Students who successfully complete this subject will have improved ability to:

  • think clearly
  • present their thoughts more clearly and persuasively
  • assess reasons and arguments
  • read with attention to detail
  • analyse and clarify unclear concepts
  • reason rigorously about complex issues
  • write better essays – ones with greater logical rigor


Intensively taught: In class tests, equivalent to 2,000 words throughout the teaching period 14 January to 1 February 2013 (50%); a 2-hour examination on 8 February 2013 (50%). Students must pass both assessment tasks in order to pass the subject.

Semester 1: In class tests, equivalent to 2,000 words throughout semester (50%); a 2-hour examination during examination period (50%). Students must pass both assessment tasks in order to pass the subject.

Hurdle requirement: students must attend a minimum of 75% of classes in order to pass this subject. In-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject.

Prescribed Texts:

Boucher et al, Improving your Thinking; available on-line

The Critical Thinking textbook will be available on-line for free at:

Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • Development of skills in independent learning
  • Development of skills in critical thinking
  • Development of skills in the interpretation of textsDevelopment of time management and planning skills: through managing and organising workloads for required and recommended reading, mini-test taking, and assignment completion and revision for examinations.
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: History and Philosophy of Science
History and Philosophy of Science Major
Philosophy Major

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