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(Alternate title: GET1026 – Dissect, Analyze, Enjoy!)
Effective reasoning…a rather ambiguous term. I was originally bidding for another module, but was outbidded by exactly one point (I bidded 99, the lowest bid that got the module was 100 -.-). So out of the available modules that could fit within my timetable, this seemed the most interesting. At the very least (I thought), it would be helpful if one was writing an essay to ensure that there were no logical flaws.
What I expected
With a title like ‘Effective Reasoning’, it is difficult to know what to expect. Perhaps one would learn about leaps of logic as being a form of ‘ineffective’ reasoning?
What I got
A course that taught informal logic. Stemming from a philosophic background, it did not make use of truth tables, but looked at inductive and deductive forms of reasoning as well as various logical fallacies to a much greater extent than GET1008 did. One also learns how to assess and form an argument using terms like cogency, strength and validity.
[Course Materials?] Slides, that’s all.
Assessment & Workload
One is assessed as follows:
- Take home midterms, where working within a group or going solo is allowed. This comprises of two questions.
- Tutorial participation involving solving and explaining selected tutorial questions.
- Semester finals.
- Weekly online quizzes.
The take home midterms should be discussed with others, although group submissions are not allowed. So one would discuss with their informal group mates before submitting their individual paper. Grades are assigned individually as expected.
Tutorial participation is not too heavy, but forms a good foundation for one to do decently well within the course. If one is able to follow the reasoning taught and used, it would put one in good stead for both the weekly quizzes and semester finals that require the same methodology to critique an argument or dissect a paragraph arguing for or against a specific premise.
After barely passing the midterms due to a lack of discussion with my group mates and failing to do very well in the online quizzes, I expected something along the lines of a B- to a B.
And fortunately, I got a B. A poor grade, but better than a B-.
Conclusion & Tips
This module is good for those that enjoy logical puzzles without involving maths or formal logic used, but may be a turn off if one was expecting something else. Nevertheless, one can certainly apply the principles learned within this module to critique arguments and check for fallacies if they are doing other modules that require this approach.
- Be prepared to think through a short or medium length paragraph for a prolonged period of time, especially during the semester finals. This is the use of informal logic, after all, to arrive at a reasonable conclusion. Simply half-assing it will not go well.
- Consultation with the lecturer or tutor can be helpful as some of the examples raised within the lecture can be difficult to grasp within the time allocated to the explanation of that example.