Introduction to Logic, Critical Reasoning and Argumentation

Key information

Start date
End date
Year of study
Year 1 or Year 2
Term 2
Module code
FHEQ Level
Department of Religions and Philosophies

Module overview

This module is designed as a stimulating introduction to the basic concepts of formal logic and to various methods of argument analysis and evaluation.

The objective of the module is to equip students with the necessary intellectual tools to understand and engage critically with philosophical texts, as well as to write and reason in an ordered and rigorous way. You will learn about rudimentary logical concepts such as inference, deduction and induction, validity, and soundness, and apply such knowledge in your engagement with a range of philosophical texts produced in the Global North and in the Global South.

You will also learn about a range of formal and informal fallacies, and develop the skills to identify when these are committed by authors. This will be done through the analysis of not only published philosophy texts, but also in the analysis of tabloid editorials, broadsheet editorials, and party-political speeches. Extensive in-class exercises focusing on argument construction, reconstruction, truth-tables, and truth-trees are designed to enhance a range of academic skills that will build your confidence in applying the methods in a wide variety of circumstances.

Objectives and learning outcomes 

On successful completion of this course a student will be able to:

  • Recognise arguments and distinguish them from explanation, etc.
  • Formalise arguments in standard-form / in syllogistic form (where appropriate)
  • Reconstruct complex arguments from written sources
  • Evaluate the validity of deductive arguments
  • Assess the inductive force of inductive arguments
  • Identify logical fallacies - both informal and formal

Scope and syllabus

Week 1: Validity, Soundness, and Inductive Force

Week 2: Formal fallacies

Week 3: Informal fallacies

Week 4: Truth-tables: Conjunction and Disjunction

Week 5: Truth-tables: Material Implication, Biconditionals, Tautology, Contradiction, Indeterminacy, and Consistency

Week 6: Reading Week

Week 7: Truth-tables: Testing for Validity

Week 8: Truth-trees: Conjunction and Disjunction

Week 9: Truth-trees: Material Implication and Biconditional

Week 10: Truth-trees: Testing for Validity

Week 11: Workshop


3-hours lecture per week

Method of assessment

  • One essay of 1,000 words OR a video essay or multimedia presentation (5 minutes, 5 pages/slides)- (30%)
  • One portfolio including longer essay of 2000 words, 10 minutes, 7 - 10 pages/slides (70%)

Suggested reading

  • Bergmann, M., Moor, J., and Nelson, J. 2013. The Logic Book (6th ed.)  New York: McGraw-Hill



Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules.