PHIL110-23S2 (C) Semester Two 2023

Science: Good, Bad, and Bogus

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 17 July 2023
End Date: Sunday, 12 November 2023
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 30 July 2023
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Sunday, 1 October 2023


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 on-campus one. If you are a distance student, please enrol in the other. Videos of all lectures are available online, and all assessment is submitted online. Physical attendance of lectures by on-campus students is highly recommended, but not required in case of time-table clashes.

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.



Course Coordinator

Douglas Campbell

Contact Douglas for further information.


Assessment Due Date Percentage  Description
Attendance 18% In person or online, 0.5% per lecture
Assessment Tasks 20% The best 10 of 12 weekly online mini-assessment tasks (2% each)
Assignment 30%
Final Exam 32% 2 hours

Please check the course LEARN page for further details and updates.

Textbooks / Resources

There is no textbook. All required course resources are provided online.

Course links

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

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $821.00

International fee $3,750.00

* 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 .

All PHIL110 Occurrences

  • PHIL110-23S2 (C) Semester Two 2023
  • PHIL110-23S2 (D) Semester Two 2023 (Distance)