Critical Thinking
Course code
old course code
Course title in Estonian
Kriitiline mõtlemine
Course title in English
Critical Thinking
ECTS credits
approximate amount of contact lessons
Teaching semester
Assessment form
lecturer of 2018/2019  Spring semester
lecturer not assigned
lecturer of 2019/2020  Autumn semester
Oliver Laas (English)
Course aims
Acquiring the basics of philosophical and logical thinking: options for defining the object under scrutiny and research, logical deduction etc.;
Developing skills for compiling and writing analytic texts, ability to analyse texts critically;
Developing skills on different textual approaches for presenting knowledge: logical arguments, their types and common fallacies of argumentation, defining and its various options, recognising and avoiding the common argument and defining mistakes;
Distinguishing between certainty, probability and plausibility in arguments and deductions;
Ability to recognise and criticise wishful thinking, rhetorical deception and other ploys for distorting meaning;
Developing the skills of discussion and of writing a short essay;
Acquiring and applying the basic skills of discourse analysis.
Brief description of the course
Critical thinking is a course consisting of examples, exercises and practical tasks and it aims to:
1) teach the new undergraduate students to think logically, to define an object under research, to draw conclusions etc.;
2) recognise the typical mistakes of argumentation and definition;
3) teach students to compile analytical discussions and texts and to analyse other given texts critically.

Exercises and practical tasks will be used to explore the following topics:
Differences between knowledge and beliefs;
Logical arguments, their types and typical argumentation fallacies;
Wishful thinking, rhetorical deception and other types for distorting meaning;
Definitions and opportunities for defining;
Certainty, probability and plausibility in arguments and deductions;
Discourse and (critical) discourse analysis;
Options for textual criticism deriving from various theories and methodological approaches: criticism of power (authority) and ideology;
Psychoanalytic, semiotic, naturalistic, utilitarian, consequentionalistic, and deontological options for argumentation and criticism.
Independent work
Tasks compiled by the lecturer and texts and arguments chosen by the lecturer for analysis and criticism.
Learning outcomes in the course
Student having accomplished the course:
has obtained the basics of philosophical and logical thinking;
is able to define an object under research;
is able to build an argument without common fallacies;
is able to identify certainty, probability and plausibility in arguments and deductions;
is able to write independently shorter analytical texts, i.e. essays and in oral discussion;
is able to recognise and criticise wishful thinking, rhetorical deception and other common types of manipulating truth;
is able to apply the major methods of discourse analysis.
Assessment methods
Tasks and short essays
Lektor Oliver Laas
Study literature
Õppejõu koostatud harjutused ja tekstid analüüsimiseks / Tasks and texts assigned by the lecturer for analysis.
Replacement literature
Julian Baggini, Peter S. Fosl The Philosopher's Toolkit: A Compendium of Philosophical Concepts and Methods
Douglas Walton, Fundamentals of Critical Argumentation
Douglas Walton, Informal Logic: A Pragmatic Approach
Gee, J.-P. An Introducton to Discourse Analysis