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A Skeptical Studies Curriculum Resource

Critical Thinking: Reason & Evidence

This course was taught at Portland State University.

Excerpt from Syllabus

“As we know, there are known knowns. There are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns. That is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns, the ones we don’t know we don’t know.” —Donald Rumsfeld, Feb. 12, 2002, Department of Defense news briefing

“I am one of those who are very willing to be refuted if I say anything which is not true, and very willing to refute anyone else who says what is not true, and quite as ready to be refuted as to refute—for I hold that this is the greater gain of the two…” —Socrates in the Gorgias

This class is designed to improve reasoning and critical thinking skills. The focus is on practical/applied methods of reasoning. Students will learn to use tools to think clearly and critically about a wide range of questions and issues.

Learning Goals

By the end of this course, students should have:

  • Developed a healthy skepticism.
  • Improved their critical thinking skills.
  • Formulated beliefs on the basis of reason and evidence.

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