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In this era of increased polarization of opinion and contentious disagreement, CRITICAL REASONING presents a cooperative approach to critical thinking and formation of beliefs. CRITICAL REASONING emphasizes the importance of developing and applying analytical skills in real-life contexts. This book is unique in providing multiple, diverse examples of everyday arguments, both textual and visual, including the classroom-appropriate long argument passages from real-life sources that can be so hard to find. The writing is accessible to students without talking down to them. The book provides clear, step-by-step procedures to help students decide for themselves what to believe--to be consumers of information in our contemporary "world of experts."
- Chapter 1: A new exercise section has been added on identifying main points and supporting points in brief real-life passages. The section on the attitude of the critical reasoner and the section on critical reasoning versus mere disagreement have been combined.
- Chapter 3: The sections on moving to real-world discourse and on finding an argument in a sea of words have been revised so that the main techniques are easier to apply to examples and exercises.
- Chapter 4: The section dealing with arguments involving "should" and "should not" has been developed with some revised illustration and tied to a new section that focuses on the context of such arguments, leading to new exercises at the end of the chapter.
- Chapter 6: The reader now moves more quickly into the discussion of specific fallacies after the introductory material on the nature of fallacies, persuasiveness, and the categories of fallacies.
- Chapter 7: Several longer passages have been added on topics of current interest. The discussion of how conceptual theories can support premises of deductive arguments is expanded.
- Chapter 8: The discussion of sampling arguments is expanded to allow particular attention to the concepts of internal validity, external validity, and construct validity as well as the criticism of sampling arguments that make faulty generalizations from samples of properties that are temporally unstable. The discussion of arguments with statistical premises has also been expanded.
- Chapter 9: The account of convergent arguments has been simplified so that counter-considerations are presented as criticisms of a convergent argument.
- Chapter 12: Material at the beginning and ending of the chapter has been streamlined and compressed to allow for expanded discussion of dogmatism and the "true believer."
- Clear presentation of step-by-step procedures for reconstruction and criticism.
- Diverse range of examples and exercises, including longer passages such as newspaper editorials and essays passages are aimed at enabling students to apply critical reasoning outside the classroom.
- Extensive discussion of identifying fallacies and theories, both empirical and conceptual, in reconstructing and evaluating arguments. The aim is to enable students to probe and judge the real-life borderline cases, rather than merely being able to identify caricature fallacies.
- Reconstruction and evaluation of nondeductive arguments, including sampling, causal, and convergent arguments.
- Discussion of challenges facing a consumer of information in our contemporary "world of experts."
- Focus on critical reasoning as a cooperative enterprise aimed at deciding what to believe rather than dominating or humiliating an opponent in a disagreement.
1. DECIDING WHAT TO BELIEVE.
Critical Reasoning Versus Passive Reading or Listening. Critical Reasoning Versus Mere Disagreement. Critical Reasoning as a Cooperative Enterprise. Some Common Misconceptions About Critical Reasoning. Benefits of Critical Reasoning. The Main Techniques of Critical Reasoning.
2. THE ANATOMY OF ARGUMENTS: IDENTIFYING PREMISES AND CONCLUSIONS.
The Key to Identification: Seeing What Is Supported by What. Clues to Identifying Argument Parts: Indicator Words. Marking the Parts of Arguments. What to Do When There Are No Indicator Words. The Principle of Charitable Interpretation. Patterns of Argument. Identifying Premises and Conclusions in Longer Passages.
3. UNDERSTANDING ARGUMENTS THROUGH RECONSTRUCTION.
Understanding Arguments by Identifying Implicit Conclusions. Understanding Arguments by Identifying Implicit Premises. Adding Both Conclusion and Premises. Guidelines and Warnings about Adding Implicit Premises and Conclusions. Moving to Real World Discourse. Simplifying and Paraphrasing. Finding an Argument in a Sea of Words. Reconstructing Arguments with Subordinate Conclusions.
4. EVALUATING ARGUMENTS: SOME BASIC QUESTIONS.
When Does the Conclusion Follow from the Premises? The Counterexample Method of Showing that an Argument’s Conclusion Does Not Follow. When Should the Premises Be Accepted as True? Sample Appraisals: Examples of Techniques of Criticism. Some Special Cases: Arguments That We Should or Should Not Do Something. The Rationale for Using These Critical Techniques.
5. WHEN DOES THE CONCLUSION FOLLOW? A MORE FORMAL APPROACH TO VALIDITY (OPTIONAL).
Statements Containing Logical Connectives: When are They True; When are They False? Truth Tables as a Test for Validity. Testing Validity of Arguments Containing Quantifiers. A More Formal Way of Representing Statements with Quantifiers. A Glimpses at Natural Deduction.
6. FALLACIES: BAD ARGUMENTS THAT TEND TO PERSUADE.
Persuasiveness: Legitimate and Illegitimate. Types of Persuasive Fallacies. Distraction Fallacies: False Dilemma, Slippery Slope, Straw Man. Resemblance Fallacies: Affirming the Consequent Denying the Antecedent, Equivocation, and Begging the Question. Review. Emotion and Reason in Argument. When Is an Emotional Appeal Illegitimate? Emotion Fallacies: Appeal to Force and Appeal to Pity, Prejudicial Language. Emotion and Resemblance Combined: Appeal to Authority and Attacking the Person. Note on Terminology. Review.
7. "THAT DEPENDS ON WHAT YOU MEAN BY . . . ".
Unclear Expressions in the Premises: Looking for Shifts in Meaning. The Possibility of Misleading Definition. Kinds of Unclarity: Vagueness and Ambiguity. Interpreting and Evaluating: A Dialogue Process. Argument and Definition. Evaluating Definition-like Premises. Reconstructing Conceptual Theories. A Model for Conceptual Theories. Reconstructing Fragmentary Theories. The Criticism of Conceptual Theories. Conceptual Clarification and Argument. Review.
8. ARGUMENTS THAT ARE NOT DEDUCTIVE. INDUCTION AND STATISTICAL REASONING.
Two Types of Inductive Arguments. Deductive versus Nondeductive Arguments. Criticizing Arguments that Generalize: Sampling Arguments. Attacking the Premises (Disputing the Data). Questioning the Representativeness of the Sample. Pointing to a Shift in the Unit of Analysis. Challenging the Truth of the Conclusion. Summary of Criticisms. Arguments with Statistical Premises. Criticism of Arguments with Statistical Premises. Identifying Inductive and Deductive Arguments in Natural Prose Passages. Review: Types of Inductive Arguments.
9. CAUSAL, ANALOGICAL, AND CONVERGENT ARGUMENTS: THREE MORE KINDS OF NONDEDUCTIVE REASONING.
Causal Generalization. Five Ways in which Causal Reasoning Might Fail. Supporting Causal Arguments. Problems with Generalizing Causal Claims. Arguments from Analogy. Convergent Arguments. Evaluation of Convergent versus Deductive Arguments. Representing Convergent Arguments and Counter-considerations. Applying Criticism to Convergent Arguments with Counter-Considerations: A Four-Step Process.
10. EXPLANATION AND THE CRITICISM OF THEORIES.
"That’s Just a Theory." Picking Out Theories. Criticism of Theories. First-Stage Criticisms—Plausible Alternative; Doubtful Predictions. Review of Techniques for Criticizing Theories.
11. PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER: SIX STEPS TO UNDERSTANDING AND EVALUATING ARGUMENTS.
A Sample Application of the Six-Step Procedure. A Second Sample Application of the Six-Step Procedure.
12. MAKING REASONABLE DECISIONS AS AN AMATEUR IN A WORLD OF SPECIALISTS.
Leaving It to the Experts. The Dilemma. Coping with the Dilemma. Creating Arguments and Theories in a World of Experts. The Strategy and Its Prospects. Can Information Technology Dissolve the Dilemma? The Contemporary Problem of Knowledge.
Answers to Selected Exercises.
"I have happily used this text many times. I have returned to it after experimenting with other texts. The writing is not dumbed-down, cute, or ingratiating. It is clear, intelligent, and comprehensible to the students."- John Justice, Randolf College
"The book does contain an amazing collection of real argumentative passages complete with near perfect companion exercises for students to engage in learning how to evaluate arguments. I think it's the best I have ever seen. Also, the style in which the book is written is lucid and engaging."- Michael Nassif, Kent State University
"A clear and diverse survey of approaches to analyzing arguments, with many helpful examples and exercises."- Joseph F. Keeping, York University
"Nice overall organization of examples, exercises and review.""Excellent discussion of fallacies and kinds of arguments.""A good and thorough discussion of the analysis of arguments with strong attention paid to the questions of logical organization and evaluation. This is excellent discussion of modes of reasoning and encourages students to critically interact, interpret and break down the sample arguments."- Mark A. Pfeiffer, University of South Florida
"Well organized and accessible to students."- Glenn Sanford, Sam Houston State University