Module Catalogue 2024/25

PHI1103 : Critical Reasoning

PHI1103 : Critical Reasoning

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Daniel Koczy
  • Owning School: School X
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0
European Credit Transfer System

Modules you must have done previously to study this module

Pre Requisite Comment



Modules you need to take at the same time

Code Title
PHI1101Philosophical Approaches to the Humanities and Social Sciences
Co Requisite Comment

Part of the revised critical thinking provision in the Philosophy department. Single honours philosophy students will progress from the Philosophical Theory module – introducing a range of interpretative theories and philosophical approaches – to this module dedicated to critical reasoning, argument and justification. This will complete 20 credits.


The module aims to foster independent, critical and analytical thinking. This is achieved by allowing students to develop basic skills in critical reasoning, informal logic and the analysis and evaluation of argument.
These skills are, like mathematics, best taught through repeated examples, from learning at one’s own pace and from one’s mistakes. This is not conducive to the lecture environment, due to its repetitive nature and the varied pace of student learning. As such, a blended approach is being adopted.
Students will come to appreciate the importance of critical reasoning and learn to reconstruct, analyse and evaluate argument. This will be achieved by developing key skills and competence in informal logic, the identification and understanding of logical fallacies and principles of justification.

Outline Of Syllabus

(0) Reason, argument and justification (Week 1)      

Introductory lecture examining the importance and meaning of reason, argument and justification; induction and deduction; outlining the course structure and student expectations.

(1) Basic principles (Week 2-4)      

The law of non-contradiction; the principle of sufficient reason; necessary and sufficient conditions; definition, precision and conceptual clarification.

Online assessment exercise 1      
(2) Facts and values (Week 5-7)      

Relativism and subjectivism; facts and values; the naturalistic fallacy; the is-ought problem; rhetoric and authority.

Online assessment exercise 2      
(3) Justification (Week 8-11)      

Justification; circularity; infinite regress; begging the question; ad hominem; straw person; appeal to ignorance; questionable cause.
Online assessment exercise 3

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

Students will:

- Build a body of knowledge regarding key terms and concepts in basic logic.

- Develop an understanding of the importance of reason and justification in the study of philosophy, across disciplines and beyond the academy.

- Develop an understanding of the importance and application of critical reasoning to wider cultural issues.

Intended Skill Outcomes

Students will:

- Learn how to reconstruct, analyse and evaluate arguments.

- Learn how to identify logical fallacies and invalid forms of justification.

- Be able to apply these skills to philosophical and ‘everyday’ examples.

- Demonstrate an understanding of the importance of critical reasoning as an academic skill and as a skill ‘for life’.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials102:0020:00Weekly online learning; mix of short video lectures and written material.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture12:002:00Introductory lecture by module leader, outlining aims and structure of the course.
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion35:0015:00Time to review material in preparation for three online assessments and time to complete them.
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading291:0029:00Weekly reading to supplement lecture material; mix of academic articles & ‘real world’ examples.
Guided Independent StudySkills practice102:0020:00Weekly online exercises, responding to lecture material.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops141:0014:00Weekly workshops / seminars discussing lecture material and practicing skills.
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

An introductory lecture will introduce the themes, aims and structure of the module.

Each week, the online learning material will include several short (~20 mins) videos and a written component. These will introduce the key ideas for each week’s teaching and discuss their wider importance. In preparation for reviewing the lecture material, students will be provided with a guided reading. Depending on content of the week’s teaching, this might involve academic material, ‘real world’ examples drawn from the media etc. or a mixture of both.

This lecture material will also be supplemented with online practise exercises for students to complete at their own pace. By completing both the lecture material and the exercises, students will gain an understanding of the importance of the skills they are developing and be able to practice those skills through repetition, which is appropriate to the development of key skills in informal logic, the identification of fallacies and the reconstruction, analysis and evaluation of argument.

Workshops / seminars will incorporate both of these elements. They will encourage students to apply the skills they have learnt to ‘real life’ examples and provide a forum in which the importance of these skills and their relevance to academic practice can be explored.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Computer assessment2M30N/A
Computer assessment2M30N/A
Computer assessment2M40N/A
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The three-stage assessment will encourage engagement throughout the course of the module. Computer assessment (multiple choice / highlight text style questions) is widely used by other institutions to assess critical reasoning modules intended to develop skills in critical reasoning, informal logic and the nature of argument.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


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The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2024 academic year.

In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described.

Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2025/26 entry will be published here in early-April 2025. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.