Critical Thinking Course


Video Lessons

Philosophy: Fundamentals of Critical Thinking

  • [Video] Introduction to Critical Thinking (9:49) Geoff Pynn (Northern Illinois University)
  • [Video] Deductive Arguments (5:40) Geoff Pynn (Northern Illinois University)
  • [Video] Abductive Arguments (6:40) Geoff Pynn (Northern Illinois University)
  • [Video] Validity: Valid Arguments (7:06) Paul Henne (Duke University)
  • [Video] Truth and Validity (6:53) Julianne Chung (Yale University)
  • [Video] Soundness: Valid and True (5:14) Aaron Ancell (Duke University)
  • [Video] Baye’s Theorum (6:20) Ian Olasov (CUNY)
  • [Video] Correlation and Causation (7:08) Paul Henne (Duke University)

Logical Fallacies

  • [Video] Formal and informal fallacies (7:04) Paul Henne (Duke University)
  • [Video] Equivocation (6:29) Joseph Wu (University of Cambridge)
  • [Video] Fallacy of Composition (3:58) Paul Henne (Duke University)
  • [Video] Fallacy of Division (4:51) Paul Henne (Duke University)
  • [Video] Introduction to Ad Hominem Fallacies (6:38) Julianne Chung (Yale University)
  • [Video] Ad Hominem (8:10) Paul Henne (Duke University)
  • [Video] Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc (5:41) Paul Henne (Duke University)
  • [Video] Appeal to the People (4:24) Jordan MacKenzie (UNC Chapel Hill)
  • [Video] Straw Man Fallacy (5:58) Joseph Wu (University of Cambridge)
  • [Video] Slippery Slope (6:44) Joseph Wu (University of Cambridge)
  • [Video] Red Herring (6:01) Joseph Wu (University of Cambridge)

Cognitive Biases

  • [Video] Cognitive Biases 101 (6:14) Peter Baumann
  • [Video] How to Think Better and More Logically Removing Bias (10:08)
  • [Video] Alief (3:59) Laurie Santos, Psychologist, (Yale University)
  • [Video] Anchoring (4:53) Laurie Santos, Psychologist, (Yale University)
  • [Video] Pricing Biases (3:40) Laurie Santos, Psychologist, (Yale University)
  • [Video] Reference Dependence and Loss Aversion (5:57) Laurie Santos (Yale University)
  • [Video] Mental Accounting (3:36) Laurie Santos (Yale University)
  • [Video] Peak-End Effect (5:15) Laurie Santos (Yale University)
  • [Video] GI Joe Fallacy (3:16) Laurie Santos (Yale University)

Center for Innovation in Legal Education (Problem Solving)

  • [Video] Episode 1.1: Introduction to Critical Thinking (12:49)
  • [Video] Episode 1.2: Understanding Arguments (10:35)
  • [Video] Episode 1.3: Deductive and Inductive Arguments (11:59)
  • [Video] Episode 1.4: Premises and Conclusions (10:00)
  • [Video] Episode 1.5: What is an Argument? (10:00)
  • [Video] Episode 1.6a: Evaluating Language, Part 1 (8:06)
  • [Video] Episode 1.6b: Evaluating Language, Part 2 (7:08)
  • [Video] Episode 2.1: Facts and Opinions (9:13)
  • [Video] Episode 2.2: Unstated Assumptions (11:46)
  • [Video] Episode 2.3: Evaluating Premises: Truth and Acceptability (8:48)
  • [Video] Episode 2.4: Premise to Conclusion: Relevance and Sufficiency (10:51)
  • [Video] Episode 3.1 More on Truth: Theories and Methods (12:38)
  • [Video] Episode 3.2 Opinions as Premises: Assessing Acceptability (10:09)
  • [Video] Episode 3.3 Considering Sources and Biases (8:50)
  • [Video] Episode 4.1 Necessary and Sufficient Premise (9:41)
  • [Video] Episode 4.2 Common Errors of Relevance (8:22)
  • [Video] Episode 4.3 The Many Forms of Inductive Arguments (9:20)
  • [Video] Episode 4.4 Understanding Causal Reasoning (12:12)
  • [Video] Episode 4.5 Common Errors in Causal Reasoning (9:52)
  • [Video] Episode 5.1 Identifying and Defining Problems (8:17)
  • [Video] Episode 5.2 Perspective (6:40)
  • [Video] Episode 5.3 Considering Constraints (6:11)
  • [Video] Episode 5.4 Constantly Reevaluating (6:36)

Applying Critical Thinking Skills

  • [Video] A Process for Better Problem Solving and Decision Making (1:00:52) HRDQ-U
  • [Podcast] The Skeptics Guide to the Universe

Course Lessons

Critical Thinking for Dummies by Martin Cohen

The Elements of Critical Thinking by Albert Rutherford

The Skeptics Guide to the Universe by Dr. Steven Novella

Getting Started with Critical Thinking Skills

Elements of Critical Thinking

Entering the World of Critical Thinking

  • [Course Lesson] Entering the Exciting World of Critical Thinking
  • [Course Lesson] Opening the Doors to the Arguments Clinic
  • [Course Lesson] Developing Critical Thinking Skills: Reading between the Lines
  • [Course Lesson] Understanding What Critical Thinking Isn’t

What Isn’t Critical Thinking

  • [Course Lesson] Distinguishing non-critical, weakly critical, and strongly critical thinking
  • [Course Lesson] Uncritical-illogical thinking
  • [Course Lesson] Statistics vs. stereotypes 0-1
  • [Course Lesson] In defense of uncritical thinking
  • [Course Lesson] Cognitive biases

Peering into the Mind: How People Think

  • [Course Lesson] Thinking Logically or Instinctively: Evolution and Consciousness
  • [Course Lesson] Watching How the Brain Thinks
  • [Course Lesson] Getting Inside Scientists’ Heads
  • [Course Lesson] Bloom’s Taxonomy
  • [Course Lesson] The SOLO Taxonomy
  • [Course Lesson] Bloom’s Taxonomy versus SOLO Taxonomy
  • [Course Lesson] Paul-Elder Critical Thinking Framework
  • [Course Lesson] Occam’s Razor

Planting Ideas in Your Head: The Sociology of Thinking

  • [Course Lesson] Asking Whether You’re Thinking What You Think You’re Thinking
  • [Course Lesson] Thinking and Indoctrination: Propaganda
  • [Course Lesson] Indoctrination
  • [Course Lesson] Dark lessons from Nazism
  • [Course Lesson] Spot the Persuasion Techniques Used on You
  • [Course Lesson] Appreciating the Difficulties of Staying Impartial
  • [Course Lesson] Appealing to Feelings: The Psychology of Argument
  • [Course Lesson] Manipulating Minds and Persuading People

Characteristics of Critical Thinkers

  • [Course Lesson] Flexibility/Open to New Ideas
  • [Course Lesson] Resistant to Manipulation
  • [Course Lesson] Overcome Confusion
  • [Course Lesson] Curiosity/Ask Questions
  • [Course Lesson] Base Judgments on Evidence
  • [Course Lesson] Balance their Thinking
  • [Course Lesson] Look for Connections between Subjects
  • [Course Lesson] Are Intellectually Independent

Assessing Your Thinking Skills

  • [Course Lesson] Discovering Your Personal Thinking Habits
  • [Course Lesson] Busting Myths about Thinking
  • [Course Lesson] Exploring Different Types of Intelligence: Emotions and Creativity

Intellectual Standards Essential to Reasoning (Journal of Developmental Education)

  • [Course Lesson] Clarity
  • [Course Lesson] Accuracy
  • [Course Lesson] Precision
  • [Course Lesson] Relevance
  • [Course Lesson] Depth
  • [Course Lesson] Breadth
  • [Course Lesson] Logic
  • [Course Lesson] Significance
  • [Course Lesson] Fairness

Developing Your Critical Thinking Skills

Critical Thinking Is Like . . . Solving Puzzles: Reasoning by Analogy

  • Investigating Inventiveness and Imagination
  • Confused Comparisons and Muddled Metaphors
  • Intuition and Expertise (Kahneman)
  • Jumping to Conclusions (Kahneman)
  • Becoming a Thought Experimenter

Thinking in Circles: The Power of Recursion

  • Thinking Like a Computer Programmer
  • Combining the Thinking Spheres
  • Sort, Select, Amplify, Generate: Using Design Skills to See New Solutions
  • Ordering Yourself a Nice, Fresh Argument! (Exercise)

Staying Clear of Thinking Errors

  • Data, Information, Knowledge, Understanding, Wisdom
  • How to detect biases when we transform data into information
  • De-biasing

Drawing on Graphical (and Other) Tools for Thinking

  • Discovering Graphical Tools: Mind Mapping and Making Concept Charts
  • Putting Graphical Tools To Use
  • Considering Other Thinking Tools

Constructing Knowledge: Information Hierarchies

  • Building the Knowledge Pyramid with Data and Information Blocks
  • Turning the Knowledge Hierarchy Upside Down
  • Maintaining Motivation: Knowledge, Skills and Mindsets

The ACER Critical Thinking Skill Development Framework

  • Strand 1: Knowledge Construction
    • Asking Questions
  • Strand 2: Evaluating Reasoning
    • Answer Questions
  • Strand 3: Decision Making
    • Believe the Answers
  • Skill Development Levels

Applying Critical Thinking in Practice

Getting to the Heart of the (Reading) Matter

  • Appreciating Critical Reading as a Practical Skill
  • Reading between the Lines
  • Playing Detective: Examining the Evidence
  • Filtering out Irrelevant Material
  • Critical Reading (Rutherford)

Cultivating Your Critical Writing Skills

  • Structuring Your Thoughts on the Page
  • Choosing the Appropriate Style of Writing
  • Getting Down to the Specifics of Critical Writing
  • Critical Writing (Rutherford)

Speaking and Listening Critically: Effective Learning

  • Getting the Most from Formal Talks
  • Participating in Seminars and Small Groups
  • Noting a Few Notes
  • Democratising the Learning Environment

Empower Your Logic Toolkit (Rutherford)

  • Unneccessary and Insufficient
  • What Are Hidden Assumptions
  • The Laws of Thought (Aristotle)
  • What Makes an Argument Convincing
  • Recognizing Fallacies

Reason and Argument

Unlocking the Logic of Real Arguments

  • Introducing Real-Life Arguments
  • Delving Deeper into Real Arguments

Behaving Like a Rational Animal

  • Setting out Laws for Thinking Logically
  • Seeing How People Use Logic
  • Putting Steel in Your Arguments with Logic

Reasoning by Analogy (Rutherford)

  • Introducing reasoning by analogy
  • The power of words
  • Uncovering false analogies
  • Analogy in practice
  • Practice your analogy skills

Using Words to Persuade: The Art of Rhetoric

  • Introducing Rhetoric: When an Argument Isn’t an Argument
  • Winning When You’re Right
  • Debating Successfully When You’re Wrong
  • Discerning a Message

Presenting Evidence and Justifying Opinions

  • Challenging Received Wisdom about the World
  • Digging into Scientific Thinking
  • Counting on the Fact that People Don’t Understand Numbers: Statistical Thinking

Critical Thinking Hall of Fame

  • Critical thinking lessons from the greatest thinkers of the world:
  • Arguments that changed our world


Ten Logical Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them

  1. Claiming to Follow Logically: Non Sequiturs and Genetic Fallacies
  2. Making Assumptions: Begging the Question
  3. Restricting the Options to Two: ‘Black and White’ Thinking
  4. Being Unclear: Equivocation and Ambiguity
  5. Mistaking a Connection for a Cause: Correlation Confusion
  6. Resorting to Double Standards: Special Pleading
  7. Thinking Wishfully
  8. Detecting the Whiff of Red Herrings
  9. Attacking a Point that Doesn’t Exist: Straw-Man Arguments
  10. Redefining Words: Playing at Humpty Dumpty

Ten Arguments that Changed the World

  1. Suggesting That Only a Small Elite Is Clever Enough To Be In Charge
  2. Crossing the Line: An Argument for Breaking the Law
  3. Staying on the Right Side of the Law: An Argument for Always Obeying the Law
  4. Arguing that Human Misery is Due to a Greedy Elite Exploiting Everyone Else
  5. Proving That, ‘Logically’, God Exists
  6. Proving That, ‘in Practice’, God Doesn’t Exist
  7. Defending Human Rights
  8. Making Everything Relative
  9. Getting All Relative with Einstein
  10. Posing Paradoxes to Prove Your Point

Scientific Skepticism

Core Concepts Every Skeptic Should Know

  • Scientific Skepticism

Neuropsychological Humility and Mechanisms of Deception

  • Memory Fallibility and False Memory Syndrome
  • Fallibility of Perception
  • Pareidolia
  • Hyperactive Agency Detection
  • Hypnagogia
  • Ideomotor Effect


  • Dunning-Kruger Effect
  • Motivated Reasoning
  • Arguments and Logical Fallacies
  • Cognitive Biases and Heuristics
  • Confirmation Bias
  • Appeal to Antiquity
  • Appeal to Nature
  • Fundamental Attribution Error
  • Anomaly Hunting
  • Data Mining
  • Coincidence

Science and Pseudoscience

  • Methodological Naturalism and Its Critics
  • Postmodernism
  • Occam’s Razor
  • Pseudoscience and the Demarcation Problem
  • Denialism
  • P-Hacking and Other Research Foibles
  • Conspiracy Theories
  • Witch Hunts
  • Placebo Effects
  • Anecdote

Iconic Cautionary Tales from History

  • The “Clever Hans” Effect
  • The Hawthorne Effect
  • Cold Reading
  • Free Energy
  • Quantum Woo
  • Homunculus Theory
  • Intelligent Design
  • Vitalism and Dualism
  • N-Rays
  • Positive Thinking
  • Pyramid Scheme

Adventures in Skepticism

  • Motivated Reasoning About Genetically Modified Organisms
  • Dennis Lee and Free Energy
  • Holly-woo
  • The Singularity
  • The Warrens and Ghost Hunting
  • Loose Thinking About Loose Change

Skepticism and the Media

  • Fake News
  • False Balance
  • Science Journalism
  • Enter the Matrix
  • Microbiomania
  • Reporting Epigenetics

Death by Pseudoscience

  • Death by Naturopathy
  • Exorcism: Medieval Beliefs Yield Medieval Results
  • Death by Denial
  • Suffer the Children

Changing Yourself and the World

  • Being Skeptical
  • Epilogue
  • Bonus Chapter. Global Warming