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Course 2023-2024 a.y.


Department of Law

For the instruction language of the course see class group/s below

Go to class group/s: 28

BGL (1 credits - I sem. - OB  |  IUS/20)
Course Director:

Classes: 28 (I sem.)

Class group/s taught in English

Synchronous Blended: Lessons in synchronous mode in the classroom (for a maximum of one hour per credit in remote mode)

Mission & Content Summary

In the world of hyper-communication, monopolised by social media, it happens that our faculty of judging the opinions of others, of discerning the true from the false, of distinguishing good from bad choices, is greatly weakened. Added to this is the fact that any exchange of opinions, whether on social media or in public discussion, tends to turn into an all-out fight, in which the denigration of the opponent often takes the place of critical discussion of the reasons supporting a certain thesis. This drastically reduces not only the quality of public debate and collective choices, but also our ability to make well-considered judgements on issues that are often very relevant to our lives. The aim of the Critical Thinking seminar is to acquaint students with the most important patterns of reasoning used in social sciences and decision-making. This is done by considering the characteristics of these patterns, their diverse applications, and the psychological biases that affect human reasoning. Each session of the seminar starts with a case study to be discussed in class, enhances a specific set of skills, and includes some tests, or experiments, to help students understand the potential biases in reasoning and judgment.


The seminar consists of 4 workshops dedicated to the most important dimensions of critical thinking:

1) Argumentation
2) The formulation of hypotheses
3) Explanation
4) Cognitive biases

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILO)
At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Identify the structure of an argument
  • Use arguments to counter other arguments
  • Understand how arguments are used in human communication
  • Evaluate conditional reasoning
  • Identify the explanation of a fact or event
  • Identify the relationship between cause and effect
  • Formulate the prediction of an event based on existing information
  • Draw a conclusion about reality, by imagining a situation that does not actually take place
At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Determine under what conditions an argument is acceptable
  • Choose the proper argument to counter other arguments in reasoning
  • Apply arguments strategically in interpersonal communication
  • Assess a conclusion based on conditional statements
  • Determine whether the explanation of a fact is convincing
  • Determine whether a fact can be considered the cause of another fact
  • Evaluate the relevance of a counterfactual situation in decision-making

Teaching methods
  • Face-to-face lectures
  • Exercises (exercises, database, software etc.)
  • Case studies /Incidents (traditional, online)
  • Interactive class activities on campus/online (role playing, business game, simulation, online forum, instant polls)
  • Exercises: exercises carried out via BBoard platform.
  • Case-studies: each session of the seminar starts with the discussion of a case study presented through a short video or some slides.
  • Interactive class activities: the course includes tests and experiments that are carried out in class.

Assessment methods
  Continuous assessment Partial exams General exam
  • Written individual exam (traditional/online)
  • x   x

    Attending students may be evaluated on the basis of continuous assessment. A student who attends at least 75% of the seminar sessions is considered to be attending.
    There will be three ongoing assessment tests held at the end of seminar sessions 2, 3 and 4, using the BlackBoard platform. Each test will consist of 5 multiple-choice questions and will cover the topics dealt with in the previous seminar session. The student scores 2 points for each correct answer, -1 point for each incorrect answer, and 0 points for no answer. Students who score at least 15 points in the 3 tests pass the examination. Attending students who do not go for the continuous assessment, or do not obtain at least 15 points in the tests, must take the final exam.


    Non-attending students will take the final exam consisting of 20 multiple-choice questions relating to topics covered in the seminar.

    Teaching materials
    • D. CANALE, R. CIUNI, A. FRIGERIO, G. TUZET, Critical Thinking. An Introduction (Milano: EGEA, 2021), with the exception of chapters 5 and 11, and sections 6.4 and 7.3.4.
    • Slides presented during the seminar.
    Last change 19/06/2023 05:24