Critical Reasoning

General Course Information

Course Lecturer Name(s): Dr. Oliver Benoit

Course Director Name: Dr. Oliver Benoit

Course Lecturer(s) Contact Information:

Course Director Contact Information:;  

Course Lecturer(s) Office Hours: By Appointment (Online)

Course Director Office Hours: By Appointment (Online)

Course Lecturer(s) Office Location: Ballsier Building – upstairs

Course Director Office Location: Ballsier Building – upstairs

Course Support: Nikisha Thomas;; 3692

Course Management tool: To learn to use Sakai, the Course management tool, access the link

Course Curriculum Information

Course Description: 

This course is meant to help students to understand the concept and dynamics of critical reasoning and to develop the ability and habit of critical reasoning and analysis; to appreciate the usefulness and importance of thinking and reasoning intelligently amidst the importance of the complexities of critical life issues, and to develop necessary critical thinking and reasoning skills that will enable them to reason correctly and effectively in important real-life situations.

Course Objectives: 

  1. Formulate a personal view of the meaning of life.
  2. Develop the ability to determine freewill within a world governed by natural laws.
  3. To use deductive and inductive logic within an argument and to recognize common fallacies.
  4. Explain the meaning of justice and to ascertain an action that is deemed right or wrong.

Student Learning Outcomes:

  1. Students will be able to describe the main features of the scientific method and contrast it with other forms of inquiry. 
  2. Students will be able to differentiate and compare concepts such a premises and conclusions; inductive versus deductive, among others. 
  3. Students will be able to apply principles of critical thinking such as logical fallacies, rhetorical devices in their daily interaction. 
  4. Students will be able to formulate arguments with sound and persuasive reasoning. 
  5. Students will be able to Identify and understand the common psychological barriers to logical and critical thinking. 
  6. Students will develop an appreciation for the creativity and productivity in the visual arts.

Program Outcomes Met By This Course:

PO.1  Critically analyze global and regional issues.

PO.4  Effectively communicate information by extracting and constructing meanings through analysis and critical thinking.

SAS Grading Scale: Grades will be assigned as follows:

A  = 89.5% or better

B+ = 84.5 - 89.4%

B  = 79.5 - 84.4%

C+ = 74.5 - 79.4%

C = 69.5 - 74.4%

D = 64.5 - 69.4%

F = 64.4% or less 

Course Materials:

Text: Nagel, Thomas (1987) What does it all Mean? A Very Short Introduction to Philosophy. Oxford University Pres

Course Grading Requirement:

  1. Continuous assessment through discussion: 10%
  2. Paper or Quiz: 30%
  3. Paper or Quiz: 30%
  4. Paper or Quiz: 30% Course Requirements:

There will be continuous evaluation of student’s work throughout the semester accounting for 10% of the overall grade. Evaluation will also include three (3) major assignments that will account for 90% of students overall grade.  


Percentage of Grade

Students are required to take an active part in classroom discussions; 10% of the final grade will be based on this participation


Three other papers or in class quiz. 30% each paper 


Course Schedule

January Week 1

  • Mon:17th. Welcome – Syllabus, Outline of the course, Policies & Procedures; Introduction. Introduction by Kaye, Sharon M.(2009)Critical Thinking. Basic Concepts: Why Critical Reasoning? 
  • Wed:19.   Teaching Critical Thinking through Media Literacy. 


  • Socrates Café, p.2-35
  • Class reading. Discussion of Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking Hanscomb, Stuart (2017) Critical Thinking: the basics.
  • Heidegger, Martin (1968) What is Called Thinking? Lecture 1.


Week 2

  • Mon:24th  Concepts and Propositions
  • Wed: 26th Mind – Body problem                             


  • Nagel, Thomas (1997). What does it all Mean? A very short introduction to philosophy. Chs 3 & 4
  • Moore and Parker Critical Thinking (9th edition)The chapter that includes p. 15-16


Week 3 

  • Mon: 31. Recognizing arguments September
  • Wed: February 2. Discourse on the meaning of philosophy and critical thinking


  • Perry, John (2010). Introduction to Philosophy. P. 3-22
  • Russell, Bertrand, The Value of Philosophy, in, Introduction to Philosophy p.18-21.
  • Russell, Bertrand, Why am I not a Christian, in, Introduction to Philosophy p. 55-58
  • Nagel, Thomas (1987). What does it all Mean? A short introduction to philosophy. Ch. 1
  • Quiz/Paper (3-5 pages)


Week 4. 

  • Mon: 7. Holiday Grenada’s Independence 
  •  Wed: 9.   General features of an argument; Recognizing arguments; Premise and Conclusion & Two types of Reasoning: Inductive and Deductive


  • Moore and Parker Critical Thinking (9th edition) p. 16-19


Week 5

  • Mon:14.  Language and its Use; truth and validity
  • Wed: 16. Clear and Critical Thinking; Credibility; Fallacies


  • Hume, David, Of Skepticism with regard to the senses, in Perry, Introduction to Philosophy. P.176-190 Moore and Parker Critical Thinking (9th edition) p. 78-82;  p.118-119;p.194-200 Descartes and the Problem of Skepticism, in Perry,  Introduction to Philosophy


Week 6

  • Mon:  21.  Deductive and Inductive argument 1;  Logic
  • Wed:  23.  Causal explanation    


  • Moore and Parker Critical Thinking (9th edition) p. 346-373; p. 385-411
  • Quiz/ Paper (3-5 pages) 


February Week 7

  • Mon : 28.   Justice and Equality  
  • Wed March 02.      Justice and Equality


  • Introduction to Philosophy. P.591- 599
  • Cohen, G.A, Where the Action is: On the Site of Distributive Justice, in Introduction to Philosophy. p.599-615 Mill, John, Stuart, The Subjection of Women, in Perry, Introduction to Philosophy p. 615- 619
  • Appiah, Kwame Anthony, Racism, in Perry, Introduction to Philosophy p. 634- 644
  • Peter Singer (2009) Animal Liberation: the definitive classic of the animal movement. Read Chapter 1. Pages 123.


Week 8

  • Midterms: March 7th-11th 


March   Week 9    

  • Mon 14.  Moral, legal and aesthetic reasoning
  •  Wed:  16.     Moral, legal and aesthetic reasoning, cont’d


Week 10 

  • Mon: 21.   Ethics and Morality
  • Wed: 23.    Ethics and Morality


Week 11

  •  Mon:28.      Ethics and Morality
  • Wed: 30.    Ethics and morality



April  Week 12

  •  Mon:  4.     Art and Critical Reasoning
  • Wed: 6.     Art and Critical Reasoning


April Week 13

  •  Mon: 11. Art and Critical Reasoning
  •  Wed: 13. Art and Critical Reasoning


  • Moore and Parker Critical Thinking (9th edition) p. 437-449
  • Plato, the Republic,  in  Perry, Introduction to Philosophy. P. 645-681
  • Hume, David. An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals,  in  Perry, Introduction to Philosophy. P. 682-
  • 706
  • Gauthier, David. Morality and Advantage, in  Perry, Introduction to Philosophy. P. 706- 714.
  • Mackie, J.L. The law of the Jungle Moral Alternatives and Principles of Evolution,  in  Perry, Introduction to Philosophy 714-719
  • Thiroux: Ethics, Theory and Practice Kant: Fundamental Principles of Metaphysic of Morals Peter Singer: Animal Liberation


April Week 14   

  • Mon:  18.  Easter Monday
  •  Wed:  20.  The Meaning of Life and Death   


  • Wolf, Susan, Moral Saints, in Perry, Introduction to Philosophy. P.755-767
  • Taylor, Richard. The Meaning of Human Existence, in Perry, Introduction to Philosophy, p.777-794   
  • Wolf, Susan, The Meaning of Lives, in Perry, Introduction to Philosophy, p.798-805
  • Nagel, Thomas, Death, in Perry, Introduction to Philosophy, p. 806-810


April Week 15   

  • Quiz/ Paper (3-5 pages) 
  • Mon: 25. 
  • Wed. 27.                                                      
  •  Discussions & Evaluation  


May Week 16

  • Finals                                        

School of Arts and Sciences Master Syllabi — Info for All Sections

Plagiarism Policy

Academic Integrity

The St. George’s University Student Manual (2019/2020) states as follows:

Plagiarism is regarded as a cardinal offense in academia because it constitutes theft of the work of someone else, which is then purported as the original work of the plagiarist. Plagiarism draws into disrepute the credibility of the Institution, its faculty, and students; therefore, it is not tolerated” (p. 48).

Plagiarism also includes the unintentional copying or false accreditation of work, so double check your assignments BEFORE you hand them in.

Be sure to do good, honest work, credit your sources and reference accordingly and adhere to the University’s Honor Code. Plagiarism and cheating will be dealt with very seriously following the university’s policies on Plagiarism as outlined in the Student Manual.

Your work may be subject to submission to plagiarism detection software, submission to this system means that your work automatically becomes part of that database and can be compared with the work of your classmates.

Attendance Requirement

The St. George’s University Student Manual (2019/2020) states as follows:

Students are expected to attend all classes and or clinical rotations for which they have registered. Although attendance may not be recorded at every academic activity, attendance may be taken randomly. Students’ absence may adversely affect their academic status as specified in the grading policy. If absence from individual classes, examinations, and activities, or from the University itself is anticipated, or occurs spontaneously due to illness or other extenuating circumstances, proper notification procedures must be followed. A particular course may define additional policies regarding specific attendance or participation” (p. 9).

Examination Attendance

The St. George’s University Student Manual (2019/2020) states as follows:

All matriculated students are expected to attend all assigned academic activities for each course currently registered. Medical excuses will be based on self-reporting by students. Students who feel they are too sick to take an examination or other required activity on a specific day must submit the online SAS medical excuse, which is available on Carenage. Students are only allowed two such excuses a year. Upon consultation with the Director of University Health Service, the third excuse will result in a mandatory medical leave of absence. The policies regarding make-up examinations are at the option of the Course Director” (p.46).

For additional specific examination policies and procedures, refer to the St. George’s University Student Manual (2019/2020), pages 31 through 37.

Student Accessibility and Accommodation Services Policy

The St. George’s University Student Manual (2019/2020) states as follows:

A student with a disability or disabling condition that affects one or more major life activities, who would like to request an accommodation, must submit a completed application form and supporting documentation to the Student Accessibility and Accommodation Services (SAAS) located in the Dean of Students Office. It is highly recommended that students applying for accommodations do so at least one month before classes begin to allow for a more efficient and timely consideration of the request. If a fully completed application is not submitted in a timely fashion, an eligibility determination may not be made, and accommodations, where applicable, may not be granted prior to the commencement of classes and/or examinations” (p. 8).


It is the responsibility of the student to read and understand the policies, laws, rules and procedures that while they could affect your grade for a course, have not been specifically outlined in the course syllabus. These are contained in the St. George’s University Student Manual.