Logic and Reasoning for Scientists

Dates: 30 & 31 March 2023, 9 am - 5 pm
Venue: ETH or UZH, room to be announced
Facilitator: Dr. Malte Engel, www.argumentationskompetenz.de
ECTS: 1.0
Contact: gradschool@lifescience.uzh.ch

Course description

Scientists have to give arguments in many different contexts: in their publications, in grant applications, in lab meetings and in conference presentations. Nevertheless, the bases for strong and correct arguments are not always fully clear to them. Logic provides extremely helpful tools for scientists to develop their arguments in a coherent, well-structured and
convincing way.

The course introduces the most important concepts of logic: premises and conclusions of arguments, validity and soundness of arguments, deductive vs. inductive reasoning, common types of inferences and fallacies. The idea of the course is to use these concepts as a toolbox which provides useful techniques for everyday scientific work. The
participants learn how to reconstruct arguments from scientific texts, how to give well-structured and logically valid arguments, and how to avoid misunderstandings.

Contents
• basic concepts of logic (validity and soundness of arguments etc.)
• inductive and deductive arguments
• common types of fallacies
• reconstructing arguments from texts
• tips and exercises for written argumentation

Objetives
The participants...
• state their arguments in a precise and logically coherent way
• learn to quickly identify strengths and weaknesses of arguments
• learn how to break-down arguments into their logical structure
• train analytical thinking

Methods
The methods are interactive throughout. The course provides extensive
exercises that aim at the application of the acquired skills to the participants’
individual fields of work. After the course the participants get individual
feedback from the trainer on some of the extended exercises.

Material
• Extensive script including recommended further reading
• exercise sheets and exercises in Moodle

After the online sessions tasks of about an hour each will be assigned.

After the course:
Appointments via Doodle for individual discussions with feedback on participants' texts and/or exercises. Participants will also do a test to assess the individual learning progress.