Content : in order to meet our goals, we shall start by examining hypothetical and syllogistic arguments. We shall then look into different techniques, such as the definition and the analysis of a concept, inductive research into causes, the role of the preferable, and the arguments to establish or refute a thesis. Students will confront these techniques in every course in the social sciences, and this will allow them to examine how founded the arguments they encounter are.
By the end of this course, the students should be able to criticize an argument by examining how its concepts are specified, how it establishes its facts, its research into causes and their consequences, its value judgments, and the proofs the argument offers in favor, or against, a position. Regarding the latter, the students should distinguish between the formal validity of an argument from the veracity of its premises [its soundness?].
The contribution of this Teaching Unit to the development and command of the skills and learning outcomes of the programme(s) can be accessed at the end of this sheet, in the section entitled “Programmes/courses offering this Teaching Unit”.
The Logic and Argumentation in Human Sciences course aims to demonstrate that all rational discourse comprises internal laws which are independent of the content which it claims to signify. First, it must therefore allow for a clear distinction between the validity and the truth of an argument. In this way, after studying a few basic logic concepts (understood to be canonical as regards reason), the course continues with a critical study of argumentation practices and techniques, particularly within the field of human science. Finally it will demonstrate what tricks and challenges might occur in argumentation techniques based upon an advertising message. Comprehensive course materials are available through the year.
Method : the lecture course leads into a series of tutorial sessions that apply logical and argumentative techniques to the social sciences found in the programs of the Faculty. The students are invited to find on their own examples of the techniques discussed in the course.
Assessment: Students must carry out a series of exercises and provide some examples. These exercises will be corrected by the lecturer in the presence of the students. Students are asked to orally justify their answers and correct their mistakes.
Comprehensive course notes are available to students along with the model exercises.