Mit Critical Thinking

The best way to introduce students to philosophy and philosophical discourse is to have them read and wrestle with original sources. This textbook explores philosophy through detailed argument analyses of texts by philosophers from Plato to Strawson. It presents a novel and transparent method of analysis that will teach students not only how to understand and evaluate philosophers’ arguments but also how to construct such arguments themselves. Students will learn to read a text and discover what the philosopher thinks, why the philosopher thinks it, and whether the supporting argument is good.

Students learn argument analysis through argument diagrams, with color-coding of the argument’s various elements—conclusion, claims, and “indicator phrases.” (An online “mini-course” in argument diagramming and argument diagramming software are both freely available online.) Each chapter ends with exercises and reading questions.

After a general introduction to philosophy and logic and an explanation of argument analysis, the book presents selections from primary sources, arranged by topics that correspond to contemporary debates, with detailed analysis and evaluation. These topics include philosophy of religion, epistemology, theory of mind, free will and determinism, and ethics; authors include Aristotle, Aquinas, Descartes, Hume, Kant, Ryle, Fodor, Dennett, Searle, and others. What Is the Argument? not only introduces students to great philosophical thinkers, it also teaches them the essential skill of critical thinking.

This is a third-year core Unit in the Bachelor of Business, majors in Management, Marketing and Accounting. This unit aims to teach the fundamentals of critical thinking and reasoning. Students learn how to construct, analyse and critically evaluate arguments; how to detect common fallacies in reasoning; and how to think logically and creatively. Skills are taught by developing practical techniques for the evaluation of reasoning, and applying them to arguments from a variety of disciplines including business, law, politics, and the media. Critical thinking skills are invaluable across all disciplines, and will benefit students in academic contexts and in life beyond university.

Unit topics include:

  1. Critical perspective on managerial thinking and action
  2. Forming and evaluating the strength of arguments
  3. Principles of evidence-based management to inform decision making
  4. Cognitive biases and persuasion tactics
  5. The role of rational and intuitive thinking in management decision-making
  6. Critical thinking skills for dealing with contemporary management issues

Learning Outcomes

At the completion of this unit students should be able to:

  1. Learn to recognise the structure of arguments and represent that structure in a clear, standardised form
  2. Identify and assess the different types of reasoning, such as deductive and inductive reasoning, and apply the methods of evaluation appropriate to each
  3. Apply your analysis skills to real arguments from a variety of contexts by recognising the generalisability of these skills and their applicability to other disciplines
  4. Articulate the key benefits of critical thinking for managers and organisations
  5. Demonstrate creative and flexible approaches to problem solving and decision making

Teaching Method

Lecture: 2 hours
Tutorial/Workshop: 1 hour

Assessment

Assessment Task
Learning Outcomes Assessed
Weighting
Contribution in class a-e* 10%
In-class quiz 1 (individual) a-e* 10%
In-class quiz 2 (individual) a-e* 10%
Case study analysis essay (group) a-e* 20%
Case study analysis presentation (group) a-e* 10%
Examination (3 hours) a-e* 40%
Total 100%

*refer to learning outcomes above.

Textbook

Note: Students are required to purchase the prescribed text book and have it available each week in class.

Prescribed Text Book:

Kallet, M., (2014). Think Smarter: Critical thinking to improve problem-solving and decision-making skills. ISBN 978-1-118-72983-0, Wiley & Sons


Reference Reading

Rainbolt, G.N., Dwyer, S.L. (2014). Critical Thinking: The Art of Argument, 2nd edition. U.S.A: Cengage Learning
Salmon, M.H. (2012). Introduction to Logic & Critical Thinking, 6th edition. U.S.A: Cengage Learning
Aaron, J.E. (2001). The Little Brown Compact Handbook, 4th edition. University of Phoenix, Boston: Pearson Custom Publishing.

MIT is committed to ensure the course is current, practical and relevant so that graduates are “work ready” and equipped for life-long learning. In order to accomplish this, the MIT Graduate Attributes identify the required knowledge, skills and attributes that prepare students for the industry.
The level to which Graduate Attributes covered in this unit are as follows:

Ability to communicateIndependent and Lifelong LearningEthicsAnalytical and Problem Solving Cultural and Global AwarenessTeam workSpecialist knowledge of a field of study

Legend

Colour coding    

Extent covered

The standard  is covered by theory and practice, and addressed by assessed activities in which the students always play an active role, e.g. workshops, lab submissions, assignments, demonstrations, tests, examinations
The standard is covered by theory or practice, and addressed by assessed activities in which the students mostly play an active role, e.g. discussions, reading, intepreting documents, tests, examinations
The standard is discussed in theory or practice; it is addressed by assessed activities in which the students may play an active role, e.g. lectures and discussions, reading, interpretation, workshops, presentations 
The standard is presented as a side issue in theory or practice; it is not specifically assessed, but it is addressed by  activities such as lectures or tutorials
The standard  is not considered, there is no theory or practice or activities associated with this standard

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