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Back to Think Again I: How to Understand Arguments

Learner Reviews & Feedback for Think Again I: How to Understand Arguments by Duke University

2,153 ratings
587 reviews

About the Course

How to Understand Arguments Think Again: How to Reason and Argue Reasoning is important. This series of four short courses will teach you how to do it well. You will learn simple but vital rules to follow in thinking about any topic at all and common and tempting mistakes to avoid in reasoning. We will discuss how to identify, analyze, and evaluate arguments by other people (including politicians, used car salesmen, and teachers) and how to construct arguments of your own in order to help you decide what to believe or what to do. These skills will be useful in dealing with whatever matters most to you. Courses at a Glance: All four courses in this series are offered through sessions which run every four weeks. We suggest sticking to the weekly schedule to the best of your ability. If for whatever reason you fall behind, feel free to re-enroll in the next session.We also suggest that you start each course close to the beginning of a month in order to increase the number of peers in the discussion forums who are working on the same material as you are. While each course can be taken independently, we suggest you take the four courses in order. Course 1 - Think Again I: How to Understand Arguments Course 2 - Think Again II: How to Reason Deductively Course 3 - Think Again III: How to Reason Inductively Course 4 - Think Again IV: How to Avoid Fallacies About This Course in the Series: When is someone giving an argument instead of just yelling? Which parts of what they say contribute to the argument? Why are they arguing instead of fighting? What are arguments made of? What forms do they take? Think Again: How to Understand Arguments will answer these questions and more. In this course, you will learn what an argument is. The definition of argument will enable students to identify when speakers are giving arguments and when they are not. Next, we will learn how to break an argument into its essential parts, how to put them in order to reveal their connections, and how to fill in gaps in an argument. By the end of this course, students will be better able to understand and appreciate arguments that they and other people present. Suggested Readings: Students who want more detailed explanations or additional exercises or who want to explore these topics in more depth should consult Understanding Arguments: An Introduction to Informal Logic, Ninth Edition, Concise, Chapters 1-5, by Walter Sinnott-Armstrong and Robert Fogelin. Course Format: Each week will be divided into multiple video segments that can be viewed separately or in groups. There will be short ungraded quizzes after each segment (to check comprehension) and a longer graded quiz at the end of the course....

Top reviews


Jul 06, 2018

I found this course very challenging as I find critical thinking very difficult. However this course was extremely rewarding and I will be taking the other three modules in the Think Again series.


Jun 11, 2020

I found this course very challenging as I find critical thinking very difficult. However this course was extremely rewarding and I will be taking the other three modules in the Think Again series.

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By Puni P

Mar 13, 2018

I loved to take this course.

The professor is clever, funny and clear.

However, maybe because of being English my second language, I found difficult to get some issues ( i.e. "speech act" ) or understand the nuances in some exercises regarding "speech act" and" suppressed premises" (particularly in the final quiz, the more difficult questions to me were about the "suppressed premises").

So I would have liked that these harder issues have had found a clearer explanation during the lectures. Also in the final quizzes, it would have been useful giving the reason for the wrong answer (besides explaining the right one).

In fact, the quizzes are useful both for testing our understanding the matter and for learning from our mistakes too. In fact, we learn in a different and deeper way from our mistakes. To explain the reason for the mistakes is a good way to teaching and learning.

Although these notes, the course give enough awareness about our logical and linguistic skill and I'm going to take another one: "Think Again II: How to Reason Deductively". See you soon!

By Lion F P d S

Aug 18, 2017

This course is funny, and it is really good to introduce people on how arguments are made. It shows a lot of features that makes an anrgument, and also that makes an argument valid and sound (both terms described inside the course). And it teaches how to reconstruct and deep analyse arguments, so you can understand positions, and better argue about all of them. Also, it teaches the abuses of some terms in arguing, in the way you can spot them, and immediately can start to dismiss with knowledge foundations. Tis course is part of a set of courses that go deep inside more content, so what out if you want to go through all of them. The teacher is funny and it is kind stereotype, at the way he looks, to a mad scientist, besides the fact that he is a phylosofer. That also makes the course interesting.

By Luciana R V

Jun 28, 2020

I have really enjoyed the course and found myself thinking about while working and building my own arguments or listening to others. The books is good support material if you want to review the content and I would recommend reading it before completing the final test.

I like the fact that it uses videos and quiz and open questions as different ways of learning and keeping the attention.

It is a shame to see the lack of quality in the overall participation in the discussion forums. Many people clearly do not even make an effort to answer properly. To be fair, some questions are quite confusing. Maybe the discussions forums could help add points to the final test if answers are adequate and motivate others to participate and discuss further?

By Jodi J

Jun 10, 2020

I thoroughly enjoyed this course. I was looking for a course that would be interesting, would be relevant to my everyday situations, and would be mentally challenging. This course ticked all those boxes, plus the instructor was engaging and amusing. I withheld one star because I kept expecting the second professor to appear as "advertised" and he never did, which was (oddly) distracting and also because I found some of the quiz questions to be debatable and/or not adequately explained and I often had feelings of frustration around this. However, this is my first online class and frustration could be an unavoidable consequence of not having access to a live instructor.

Thank you very much for this really enjoyable learning experience.

By Yada P

Jun 23, 2020

This course is really good and introduces a more complex and challenging way of thinking for me, which is really good. Another thing I really like is how the professor teaching this course is really funny, nice and knowledgeable, and is really passionate in this subject. However, there are some topics in this course that I found it hard to understand, such as the speech act etc. But still English is my second language, so that might be why. But overall this course is one of the better course on coursera and I would definitely recommend it to my friends and family. Finally, the professor explain most things really good, so I understand most things here quite well, and I’m only thirteen.

By Nanop S

May 13, 2020

I need to state first that, this course provides very interesting knowledge and activities in the course and it provides great experiences to me. However, I think that it is a difficult course one if this is called as "Beginner level course". For non-English native users like me, it is quite hard to fully understand each word in details since it requires learner to have a good chunk of linguistic knowledge before taking this course, if I'm just a normal (not even a good one) user. So, it would be more fit if this course is "Intermediate level course" (Level 2) rather than "Beginner level course" (Level 1).

By Natalia M

Jul 03, 2020

This course is a very good introduction to critical discourse analysis. It both presents key concepts that facilitate this kind of analysis and illustrates how to apply them step by step. I like that it applies a number of notions from mathematical logic in analysing arguments, but at times it feels like it might be easier to actually introduce these notions explicitly in order to clarify a few ideas. I could, of course, be wrong in thinking that would help, but it felt contrived to avoid them. Thanks for the careful, detailed lectures!

By Choong S Y (

May 09, 2020

This can be quite a content-heavy course but the lecture videos are very engaging, making the learning experience extra fun! Loved that there are plenty of examples mentioned in the videos to illustrate the concepts. Practice quizzes after every lecture video was extremely helpful in keeping track of your understanding on that particular topic. They prompted questions after each lecture to open for discussion challenged me to think about that topic deeply and more critically. Overall a pleasant learning experience!

By Vicky

Apr 10, 2018

Very well organized course, with many videos and exercises. Professor Armstrong explains everything really well and in a funny way. Unfortunately the discussions in the forums are not something really interesting, since most of the people don't participate or write something just to pass. All in all I would recommend this course but be prepared, cause it takes at least 4-5 hours of participation per week. Also, something I noticed is that sometimes I felt like we were over-analyzing. But this can be me.

By Daniel K B

Sep 04, 2020

It is not a basic course in debating or arguments. It is quite theoretical and assesses logical questions in places. If you are looking for a course on basic debating and or arguing, this is not it. It did help me, however, to see the theory behind some of the arguments I make. I look forward to practically applying some of it, in my line of work.

It is also taught quite clearly and with enough focus, it is easy to follow. Even when it gets challenging. I would recommend.

By Dore B

Jun 09, 2020

This was a very challenging course. Most online courses feel very basic and take far less time than expressed in the course details but this one has legitimately taken the full 4 weeks. It made me think philosophically about the structure of arguments and from a English language perspective to understand the premises and conclusions as well as the underlying assumptions to enable arguments to be interrogated.

By Haran S

Jul 08, 2020

The Professor is very entertaining and the lectures are very clearly explained. The explanations for the practice quiz answers are also very helpful. The only minor quibble is that some of the points in the lectures can be laboured at times. Perhaps one improvement would be to devise a quiz where we are let loose on a passage to perform close analysis (without the aid of multiple choice prompts).