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Course Description

LDR 669 - Critical Thinking and Decision Analysis

Credits: 3


The overall objective of this course is to improve the student’s abilities in both critical thinking and decision- making. Critical thinking is the art of analyzing and evaluating thinking and argument with the purpose of improving it. Decision-making can be defined as the process of identifying alternatives, evaluating the alternatives, and choosing between the alternatives. Critical thinking and decision-making processes are intertwined. The critical thinking segment of this course provides a guide to the analysis, reconstruction, and evaluation of arguments designed to help students distinguish good reasoning from bad. The decision-making segment shows how decision analysis can be applied so that decisions are more effective by providing numerous usable decision analysis approaches.

Course Learning Outcomes

  • Recognize arguments in academic, literary, and popular prose.

  • Identify the main conclusions of arguments.

  • Express the logical structures of arguments.

  • Identify assumptions and unstated premises in argumentative writing.

  • Evaluate the credibility and persuasiveness of arguments.

  • Identify common fallacies in reasoning.

  • Differentiate between necessary and sufficient conditions.

  • Interpret the formal validity of deductive arguments and the inductive strength of probabilistic arguments.

  • Explain how quantitative tools and analysis may lead to improved decision-making.

  • Identify which decision-making situations are most appropriate for the application of decision analysis.

  • Explain the key steps in the decision analysis process.

  • Demonstrate use of SMART for decision-making problems.

  • Develop decision trees and influence diagrams and use them to solve decision problems under uncertainty.

  • Discuss how probability can be used to provide a measure of uncertainty.

  • Explain how probability can be applied to problems where a decision has to be made under conditions of uncertainty.

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