PHIL 105/105G : Critical Thinking


2024 Summer School (1240) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

An introduction to reasoning, argument, and explanation that emphasises the development of practical skills and their use in everyday life. The course introduces different forms of reasoning and explains techniques to evaluate them. It will enable students to distinguish good arguments and explanations from bad ones, to explain the difference, and thereby to improve critical thinking abilities.

Course Overview

We are constantly being given reasons to do and believe things: to buy a product, support a cause, accept a job, exchange views with our friends, do a share of household chores, and so on. Assessing the reasons we are given to do or believe these things calls upon us to think carefully and accurately. The goal of this course is to help you improve your skills in giving and assessing reasons for beliefs and actions. This will help you in essay and report-writing, but more importantly contribute to your development as a reasonable participant in a complex and changing world.
The course is divided into three parts:
1- Reasoning with Certainty: We explore the principles of argumentation and how we might represent and analyse arguments. We will learn to analyse and evaluate deductive arguments, and understand their limitations.
2- Reasoning with Doubt: Building on our understanding of deductive arguments, we will analyse and evaluate non-deductive arguments, including weighing competing arguments, and causal reasoning. We will identify good and bad arguments, and the kinds of arguments common in everyday life.
3- Reasoning in a Field: We apply our newly acquired reasoning tools to investigate the inner workings of specialised contexts for reasoning, such as: science, morality, statistics, law, medicine, engineering, business, creative arts, or logic.
This is a blended course. All course material, including readings, videos, quizzes, discussions, and lectures recordings, are available online. Both streams cover the same material, and have the same assessment. You can switch between delivery formats at any time. This course can also be taken as General Education (PHIL 105G) or a Philosophy paper (PHIL 105).

Course Requirements

No pre-requisites or restrictions

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: People and Place
Capability 3: Knowledge and Practice
Capability 4: Critical Thinking
Capability 5: Solution Seeking
Capability 6: Communication
Graduate Profile: Bachelor of Arts

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Evaluate Arguments (Capability 4 and 5)
  2. Construct reasoned, strong arguments using acceptable evidence. (Capability 3 and 4)
  3. Provide perspectives and critiques on reasons from differing worldviews. (Capability 1, 4 and 6)
  4. Recognise and interpret mental dispositions, assumptions, biases and heuristics that can affect your reasoning. (Capability 3 and 4)
  5. Write arguments, ideas, and reflections on and using critical thinking. (Capability 3 and 4)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Assignments and Activities 50% Individual Coursework
Final Exam 50% Individual Examination

Coursework includes weekly activities and take-home assignments. Best 3 of 4, Best 10 of 12, etc., policies are in place rather than long extensions or aegrotats for illness. This allows students to work when well, and not fall behind. This is particularly important in Summer School.


PHIL 105 is part of the Critical Thinking Module:

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in. The 10 hours are divided differently for the lecture and the online streams:

Lecture stream: 2 hours of lectures, a 1 hour tutorial, 3 hours of reading, watching videos and thinking about the content, 1 hour of discussion writing and reading, and an average 3 hours on assignment preparation. There will be workload peaks for assignment preparation.

Online stream: 6 hours of reading and thinking, including watching lecture recordings, plus 1 hour of discussion and an average of 3 hours on assignment preparation. There will be workload peaks for assignment preparation.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience or Online

This course is offered in two delivery modes:

Campus Experience 

  • Attendance is expected at scheduled activities including tutorials to complete components of the course.
  • Lectures will be available as recordings. Other learning activities including tutorials will not be available as recordings.
  • The course will include live online events including student hours.
  • Attendance on campus is required for the exam.
  • The activities for the course are scheduled on a weekly timetable.  


  • Attendance is not expected at scheduled online activities including student hours, although welcomed.
  • Attendance on campus is required for the exam.
  • Most study material will be available at the start of the course.
  • This course runs to the University semester timetable and all the associated completion dates and deadlines will apply.

Learning Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

There is no paper coursebook or textbook. All material will be available on Canvas.

Student Feedback

At the end of every semester students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback and respond with summaries and actions.

Your feedback helps teachers to improve the course and its delivery for future students.

Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the department and faculty staff-student consultative committees.

Feedback from previous cohorts has changed the assessment, pace, and topic choices in the course. Most weeks includes some content generated by students. We continually draw upon the collective experience and wisdom of our students as well as our staff, in developing and fine-tuning this course.

Other Information

This course has lecture and online streams. They have the same workload, assessment, and resources. You can freely switch between the two streams during semester. Some self-motivation and organisation is required to thrive in the online stream.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed for potential plagiarism or other forms of academic misconduct, using computerised detection mechanisms.

Class Representatives

Class representatives are students tasked with representing student issues to departments, faculties, and the wider university. If you have a complaint about this course, please contact your class rep who will know how to raise it in the right channels. See your departmental noticeboard for contact details for your class reps.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website

Well-being always comes first
We all go through tough times during the semester, or see our friends struggling. There is lots of help out there - for more information, look at this Canvas page, which has links to various support services in the University and the wider community.

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption, we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and course assessment continues to meet the principles of the University’s assessment policy. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator/director, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the university website for information about how to proceed.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter

Student discussions are available for all students to read. Some of this material is personal and sensitive. Personal abuse, bullying, or similar behaviour will not be tolerated.


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course students may be asked to submit coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. In exceptional circumstances changes to elements of this course may be necessary at short notice. Students enrolled in this course will be informed of any such changes and the reasons for them, as soon as possible, through Canvas.

Published on 12/10/2023 03:22 p.m.