Critical Thinking

Number of credits: 6 European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) Price: 840 €
Price for UAB students*: 200 €
*Max. 5 places
Teaching Language: English Place: UAB Campus Bellaterra (Cerdanyola del Vallès), Barcelona

Teaching Period: 13 to 31 July


Professor: Mª pilar Dellunde Clavé, Jordi Vallverdú Segura

Enrol now!

Enrolment guidelines


Pilar Dellunde, Professor of Logic at the Philosophy Department of the UAB, and adjunct Scientist at the Artificial Intelligence Research Institute since 2001. From 2012 to 2016, she was Vice-chancellor for Research of the UAB. At present she is the principal investigator of the RECERCAIXA 2018 project APPhil (jointly with Dr. Nardine Osman), and local coordinator of the Horizon 2020 European Project SYSMICS.

Jordi Vallverdú, Ph.D., M.Sci., B.Mus, B.Phil is Professor of Philosophy of Sciences, Computing & AI. As an expert in Cognitive Sciences, his research on natural and artificial reasoning integrates several disciplines and topics, being focused into emotions as well as (culturally laden) multi-heuristics. His true passion is robotics, besides enjoying haiku poetry and jazz music.


Contents overview

Do you want to improve your critical thinking skills? In everyday life we are constantly giving reasons to believe things and take decisions. In this introductory course you will learn how to identify arguments, how to evaluate them, and how to avoid fallacies, thinking mistakes that lead to the formation of bad Beliefs.

Critical argumentation is a practical skill that needs to be learnt, from the very beginning, through the use of real examples of arguments. The real arguments we will analyze in the course will give practice in putting the desired skills to work. The methods presented are based on the latest state-of the-art techniques developed in argumentation theory and informal logic, as well as the most updated discoveries on cognition and argumentation. 

uring the course we will organize an Argument Writing Workshop where the students could put into practice the different learnt skills. There are no prerequisites to this course.

During first two weeks, no computers, mobiles phones or any electronic devices are allowed to be used in class. All materials used by professors for their teaching will be uploaded to the Campus Virtual, where the students will have access to them.

Week programme

Week Contents Teaching / learning activities
a) The nature of arguments and “evidence”
b) Rethorics and different types of arguments
c) Deductive and inductive arguments Abductive arguments
- Analysis of arguments
- Deductive and inductive arguments
- Logic Games
2 d) Fallacies
e) Post-truth and fake news
f) Into the Reasoner’s Minds 
g) Generalizations, analogies, metaphors, and causal arguments

- Identification of fallacies
- Contemporary challenges case studies: climate change, cancer, AIDS
- Argument Writing Workshop: argumentative essays and argument diagramming
h) Visual aspects of arguments
i) Numbers, data, and statistics in argumentation
j) General rules for composing arguments.
k) Possible counter-argument techniques
- Multimodal arguments analysis
- Identification of misleading numeric aspects of arguments
- Argument defence in a public debate (half class against the other half class) about one selected topic. 


The course will be evaluated on the basis of diary exercises and on the qualifications of 3 weekly Assignments (A):
A1) Exercises on deductive and inductive arguments
A2) Writing a short argument
A3) Group classe debate activity .

The grading formula is: A1 (20%) + A2 (30%) +A3 (50%, as a result of several sums of related exercises, to be detailed in class)

Links and references
  •  Douglas, M. (1996). Thought styles: critical essays on good taste. UK: Sage.
  •  Groarke, L. (2017) Informal Logic, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2017 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), forthcoming URL= .
  • Johnson-Laird, P. N. (2006). How we reason. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  •  Kahneman, D., & Egan, P. (2011). Thinking, fast and slow (Vol. 1). New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
  • Moore, B. N., Parker, R., & Rosenstand, N. (2011). Critical thinking. New York: McGraw-Hill.
  • Walton, D. (2005). Fundamentals of critical argumentation. Cambridge University Press.
  • Swatridge, C. (2014). Oxford guide to effective argumentation and critical thinking, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Vallverdú, J. & Müller, V. (2018). Blended Cognition. Germany: Springer.
  • van Eemeren, F. H. , Garssen B., & Krabbe, E.C.W. (2014). Handbook of Argumentation Theory, Berlin: Springer Verlag.