• Class Number 5327
  • Term Code 3260
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Prof Colin Klein
    • Prof Colin Klein
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 25/07/2022
  • Class End Date 28/10/2022
  • Census Date 31/08/2022
  • Last Date to Enrol 01/08/2022
SELT Survey Results

This course aims to introduce students to practices of argumentation, critical analysis, and evaluation. Such skills in critical thinking are integral to the discipline of philosophy. They are also tremendously useful in other academic domains, in the workplace, and in everyday life. The course aims to help students to understand and develop the skills required for critical thinking, and to encourage them to explore the ways in which these skills can further their academic and non-academic pursuits. Topics covered may include: various forms of reasoning, common fallacies, the use of rhetoric, elementary logic, and decision and game theories.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. critically analyse one’s opinions to identify underlying assumptions and unforeseen consequences (especially assumptions or consequences that are open to objections);
  2. analyse one’s and others’ arguments and examine whether they are successful;
  3. analyse one’s and others’ unsuccessful arguments by identifying (1) where they have committed fallacies and (2) where their arguments are vulnerable to any criticisms; and
  4. formulate and communicate arguments whose conclusions are supported by given reasons.

Required Resources

All readings will be posted on Wattle.

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

  • written comments
  • verbal comments
  • feedback to whole class, groups, individuals, focus group etc

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 The structure of the course. Why critical thinking? Two aspects of critical thinking. Unskilled and unaware. Thinking graphically.
2 Why logic? Different types of logic. Validity and soundness.
3 Symbolizing sentences. Logical connectives. How much we depend on others. Problems with eyewitness testimony.
4 Truth tables. Tautology and contradiction. The role of attention.
5 Exclusivity and entailment. Political speech.
6 Logic versus pragmatics. How to say something without really saying it.
7 Induction and probability. The role of uncertainty in science. How to exploit uncertainty.
8 Basics of probability. Epistemic injustice.
9 Probability and logical truths. Introduction to epistemic networks. Filter bubbles and echo chambers.
10 Conditional probability. Conspiracy theories. Which conspiracy theories should you believe?
11 Bayes’ theorem. The replication crisis.
12 Inference and abduction. What does good science do? What should you do?

Tutorial Registration

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage .

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Learning Outcomes
Tutorial Participation 10 % 1,2,3,4
Weekly Quizzes 15 % 1,2
Essay 40 % 1,2,3,4
Final Exam 35 % 1,2,3,4

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the Academic Integrity . In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.


See assessment task 1


See assessment task 4

Assessment Task 1

Value: 10 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4

Tutorial Participation

Your participation grade will be determined by your attendance at tutorials and active participation. Attending tutorials is necessary but not sufficient to get the participation grade, since active participation is also required. You must sign up for a tutorial.

As a rough guide:

·     Good participation is roughly this: regularly contributing to discussion with relevant and constructive comments, asking good questions, regularly asking and answering questions, listening carefully to the lecturer/tutor and other class members, and being well prepared for the session by having done the assigned readings.

·     Poor participation is roughly this: rarely contributing to discussion or contributing comments that show either a lack of preparation or a general lack of attention to lecture and tutorial discussion, rarely asking or answering questions, acting in a way that disrupts the session or that makes it difficult for the student to pay attention.

·     Other arrangements: We realize that well-prepared and fully attentive students nonetheless sometimes find it difficult to contribute to discussions, and we don’t want our tutorials to be stressful. If you are finding it difficult to contribute during tutorials, please contact us so that we can find other ways for you to contribute

Assessment Task 2

Value: 15 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2

Weekly Quizzes

Short online quizzes, administered via Wattle each Monday from week 2. Each quiz will be worth 1.5% of the final mark, with the lowest mark of the 11 dropped.

There will be a defined time window in which the quiz must be taken. Quizzes cannot made up if missed.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 40 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4


You will write one essay of 1500 words. You will be given a range of topics to write on, and all essays will require doing some research that goes beyond course content.

To accommodate different schedules during the semester, you may pick one of two possible timeframes: 

1) Topics assigned 2 September. Essays due 16 September

2) Topics assigned 14 October, due 28 October 

Essays must be submitted by 5:00pm on the due date to avoid late penalties. An assessment rubric will be made available as part of the assignment prompt.

Assessment Task 4

Value: 35 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4

Final Exam

A 1 hour cumulative final examination will take place during the examination period. (ANU releases the exact time/date for finals later in the semester.) Details will be provided as the semester progresses.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically, committing to honest and responsible scholarly practice and upholding these values with respect and fairness.

The ANU commits to assisting all members of our community to understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to be familiar with the academic integrity principle and Academic Misconduct Rule, uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with.

The Academic Misconduct Rule is in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Very minor breaches of the academic integrity principle may result in a reduction of marks of up to 10% of the total marks available for the assessment. The ANU offers a number of online and in person services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. Visit the Academic Skills website for more information about academic integrity, your responsibilities and for assistance with your assignments, writing skills and study.

Online Submission

You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) submission must be through Turnitin.

Hardcopy Submission

Hardcopy submission is acceptable only in unusual circumstances. Please contact the convenor if you have questions.

Late Submission

Individual assessment tasks may or may not allow for late submission. Policy regarding late submission is detailed below:

  • Late submission permitted. Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 7 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Returning Assignments

Assessments and feedback for the take-home and essay assignments will be returned through the TurnItIn platform on Wattle.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. Extensions may be granted for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Resubmission of Assignments

Due to limitations on allotted Tutor work hours, we cannot accept any formal resubmissions or revisions or submitted work for remarking.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information.
In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service – including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy.
If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes.

Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).

Prof Colin Klein

Research Interests

Prof Colin Klein

Tuesday 14:00 15:00
Tuesday 14:00 15:00
By Appointment
Prof Colin Klein

Research Interests

Prof Colin Klein

Tuesday 14:00 15:00
Tuesday 14:00 15:00
By Appointment

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions