We rely on our ability to reason and justify our beliefs in every aspect of our lives. For instance, in deciding which university to go to, why your taste in music is better than your friend’s, whether you should eat meat and even where you stand on global moral issues, such as whether it is ever right for a nation to go to war. We don’t just want to reason well for our own sake but we also want to challenge the attitudes and thinking of others in a positive way. However, human beings are often bad at doing this; we are surrounded by examples of bad reasoning that has the power to infect our ability to think clearly and rationally. For example, the misleading advertisements promising to transform our lives that convince us to buy something we don't need, or the irrelevant personal attacks made during debates that lead us to doubt the concrete evidence presented.
This module will introduce you to common patterns of good and bad reasoning, which will help you to expose errors in reasoning in everyday life and help you to think better. Through weekly exercises, you will develop the art of persuasion by practicing the necessary skills for good quality philosophical argument. By focusing on key issues in moral philosophy, we will see how these skills are applied to philosophical debate.
This module has been specially designed to help you develop the skills you need to prepare you for your degree and help you to fulfil your philosophical potential. The skills acquired on this course will serve as a foundation to all other philosophy modules and will help you to take a robust philosophical approach to your studies. The module will help you to work independently during the course of your degree, equipping you with valuable reading, analysis, and academic writing skills. The module will also help you to identify the transferable skills at the heart of your study of philosophy.