PHL401 Critical Reasoning (8)

This subject is an introduction to informal logic and the nature of argument, especially as it relates to real-life settings. It is designed to develop the intellectual virtues of clear thinking and rational decision-making. Students will learn to accurately interpret the many types of arguments they encounter on a day to day basis, from the mundane to exotic. They will learn not only to distinguish good arguments from bad, but also to consistently construct good arguments for themselves. In this course we shall also be introducing several advanced topics, including the nature of conductive arguments, counter-considerations and confirmation bias. From common sense to abstract reasoning, this subject promises to help each student develop the tools necessary for all other rational pursuits.


Session 2 (60)
Wagga Wagga Campus

Continuing students should consult the SAL for current offering details: PHL401. Where differences exist between the Handbook and the SAL, the SAL should be taken as containing the correct subject offering details.

Subject Information

Grading System



One session


School of Humanities and Social Sciences

Enrolment Restrictions

Not available to students who have completed PHL201 Critical Reasoning.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • be able to show that particular arguments are unsound, or have unnoticed or unwanted implications
  • be equipped to diagnose fallacies in reasoning and to avoid fallacies in their own writing
  • be able to demonstrate an advanced familiarity with the scope and content of modern applied logic
  • be able to construct and evaluate conductive arguments with counterconsiderations.


This subject will cover the following topics:

- What is an argument? - Pinning down argument structure - When is an argument a good one? - Looking at language - Premises: What to accept and why - Working on relevance - Deductions: Categorical logic - An introduction to inductive arguments - Causal inductive arguments - Analogies: Reasoning from case to case - Conductive arguments and counter considerations

Indicative Assessment

The following table summarises the assessment tasks for the online offering of PHL401 in Session 2 2020. Please note this is a guide only. Assessment tasks are regularly updated and can also differ to suit the mode of study (online or on campus).

Item Number
Value %
Weekly exercises
Final test

The information contained in the CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: May 2021. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.