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Foundations of Critical Thinking: Argumentation

Our study of reasoning and inferential errors culminates in this session on argumentation, verbal attempts to persuade.  The session will identify argument components and structures.  It will offer advice for constructing effective arguments and highlight tactics employed in debating situations.  Most of the session will be devoted to argument analysis. An informal argument analysis "method" will be presented, and participants will undertake critical analyses of arguments of varying length.

The Humanists of Minnesota is pleased to sponsor an integrated series of sessions--in essence, a course--entitled “Thinking Critically, Thinking Effectively.” Conducted by Jerry Smith, a professor at the University of Northern Iowa, this course consists of ten sessions, to be offered one per month beginning in September. It is based on a course he teaches to undergraduate business majors at UNI. As suggested by its title, the course covers traditional “critical thinking” topics, but it also addresses topics like creativity, problem solving, and decision making. Thus, broadly understood, it’s about “effective thinking.”

Sessions are held on the second Saturday of the month at the St. Anthony Park Public Library. The formal presentation will begin at 3pm but participants are encouraged to come any time after 2:30pm to socialize.

Critical thinking is an essential skill for the humanist lifestance, and many of us are quick to credit ourselves with that attribute.  But critical thinking is also a habit that needs to be  practiced and reinforced.  This in-depth "course" that emanated from the Habits of Humanism series last spring will help attendees foster good mental habits more consistently. While there is some “content-dependency” across sessions—later sessions might refer to material covered in earlier ones—interested participants can benefit from and are welcome to attend any sessions that fit their interests and schedules.

For more details on this course and a brief synopsis of each of the ten sessions, check out the Habits of Humanism page on our website at:

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  • Jody R.

    It was a very interesting discussion. I wish I had been part of the earlier classes.

    March 10, 2013

  • Sonita

    Very interesting, interactive, and stimulating. It was a lot to take in, given the amount of time in which it was delivered, so ya had to stay alert. Good stuff. Lots to think over and share with others.

    2 · March 9, 2013

  • Milo

    Great topic; great presenter!

    March 8, 2013

  • Jeffrey

    Alas! Good topic, bad weekend. Were these session notes going to get posted anywhere. I'd love a chance to still try and follow along in absentia.

    March 8, 2013

  • Michael R.

    Sorry to miss this event. :( I will be in Madison, WI at Freethought Festival 2. See you all next time!

    March 4, 2013

  • Dick S.

    Shedding more internal biases.

    March 4, 2013

  • Josh S.

    Single would love to laugh and have some fun conversation.

    March 3, 2013

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