PHIL110-22S1 (D) Semester One 2022 (Distance)

Science: Good, Bad, and Bogus

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 21 February 2022
End Date: Sunday, 26 June 2022
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 6 March 2022
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Sunday, 15 May 2022


This course is a critical thinker's toolkit. It will teach you 20 principles you can use to tell science from pseudo-science, truth from falsehood, logic from rhetoric, sound reasoning from wishful thinking, effective medicine from quackery, and good evidence from lies, fraud and fakery. The critical thinking skills you learn in this course will be vital if you go on to do more philosophy. They are also readily applicable to other disciplines, and should help you steer clear of scam-artists, charlatans, confidence-tricksters and get-rich-quick-schemes in the world outside of academia. Topics covered include the fallibility of the senses, the fallibility of memory, the placebo effect, the tricks of the cold reader’s trade, confirmation bias, the Barnum effect, relativism, mind viruses, the basics of logic, formal and informal fallacies, and the scientific evaluation of competing hypotheses.

There are two occurrences of this course -- an on-campus (C) occurrence and a distance (D) occurrence. This occurrence of the course is the distance one. If you are an on-campus student, please enrol in the other. Videos of all lectures are available online, and all assessment is submitted online.

Not only is philosophy one of the most interesting and challenging subjects, it teaches skills that employers want: thinking outside the box, logic, ethics, and excellent writing and communication skills. At UC you can do either a BA or a BSc in Philosophy, or combine a Philosophy major with the LLB, BCom, or another degree.

BA or BSc students who major in philosophy must normally take at least two 100-level PHIL courses, plus at least three 200-level PHIL courses (including PHIL233), plus at least 60-points from 300-level PHIL courses (including at least one course from this list: PHIL305; PHIL310; PHIL311; and PHIL317).  For more information see the BA regulations and/or the BSc regulations.

Learning Outcomes

  • In this course you will learn:
  • An ability to apply twenty key principles for good critical thinking.
  • The ability to recognise common patterns of sound and fallacious reasoning.
  • An understanding of the essential elements of the scientific method, and of common sources of erroneous belief.
  • The acquisition of thinking and writing skills with wide academic and vocational applicability.
    • University Graduate Attributes

      This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:

      Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award

      Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.



Course Coordinator / Lecturer

Douglas Campbell

Contact Douglas for further information.


Assessment Due Date Percentage  Description
Essay 1 30% Due last day of term 1
Essay 2 30% Due last day of term 2
Online assessment tasks 40% Best ten of 12 weekly online assessment tasks, worth 4% each

Textbooks / Resources

(Image: "Almagestum Novum Frontispiece" by G. B. Riccioli, available under public domain.)

Course links

Library portal
Philosophy Essay Writing Guide (available to all enrolled Philosophy students)
Course Outline


COURSE CODE (D) is offered as Distance Learning and under the STAR programme. Distance Learning and STAR programme students may enrol in this course.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $799.00

International fee $3,600.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.

For further information see Humanities and Creative Arts .

All PHIL110 Occurrences

  • PHIL110-22S1 (C) Semester One 2022
  • PHIL110-22S1 (D) Semester One 2022 (Distance)