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THINKING CRITICALLY helps students become sophisticated thinkers by teaching the fundamental cognitive process that allows them to develop the higher-order thinking abilities needed for academic study and career success. The text compels students to use their intellect to think critically about subjects drawn from academic disciplines, contemporary issues, and their life experiences. The text begins with basic skills related to personal experience and then carefully progresses to the more sophisticated reasoning skills required for abstract, academic contexts. Each chapter provides an overview of an aspect of critical thinking, such as problem-solving, perception, and the nature of beliefs. Thinking Activities, thematic boxes, and writing assignments encourage active participation and prompt students to critically examine others’ thinking, as well as their own. Thought-provoking and current readings from a wide variety of thinkers get students to think about complex issues from different perspectives. Each chapter ends with self-assessment activities that help students monitor their own progress as critical thinkers.
- New “Evaluating Your Thinking Abilities” Assessments help students monitor their own progress. Self-assessment ratings at the end of each chapter provide an ongoing opportunity for students to evaluate their critical and creative thinking abilities, as well as how thoughtful and enlightened their choices are. Strategies are then shared that students can methodically apply to improve their thinking abilities and, thus, their lives.
- Twenty new readings increase the emphasis on important social issues. Topics include the Casey Anthony trial, gun control and school shootings, climate change, genetically modified foods, and the changing notion of what constitutes a family. These provocative readings are from noteworthy authors and journalists, including Marcia Clark; Alan M. Dershowitz; Mary Kate Burke, Jessica Hopper, Enjoli Francis, and Lauren Effron; Ted Anthony; Dan Baum; Wayne La Pierre; Jeff McMahan; Lisa Wade; Ken Caldeira; Patrick J. Buchanan; Tyler Hamilton; Malcolm Gladwell; Kate Rice; Bob Morris; Lisa Belkin; John Berman; Joel Kotkin; Melissa Diane Smith; and the editors of SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN.
- A casebook approach to readings reveals multiple perspectives on the important events of the day and enriches students’ understanding of the larger context of each issue. For easy reference, all the readings in the book are now listed after the detailed table of contents.
- Expanded lists of “Suggested Films” help students explore the chapter’s topics through the medium of film. A description of each of the 60 suggested films helps students and instructors decide which are most interesting and relevant to their current study.
- New photos in “Thinking Critically About Visuals” features and throughout the chapters give students material for critical thinking and evaluation. Each chapter features new photographs in the “Thinking Critically About Visuals” boxes and elsewhere. These 28 new photographs, along with the many others in the book, challenge students to think critically about the role of images in viewers’ perceptions and about their own responses to them.
- A section in Chapter 1, “Images, Decision-Making, and Thinking About Visual Information,” discusses and models the ways in which the media shapes the message, and introduces concepts for critical evaluation of visual information. Each chapter also includes a feature, “Thinking Critically About Visuals,” that engages students in comparing and evaluating images drawn from current events and popular culture.
- Chapters 1 and 12 begin and end the book by linking critical thinking to creative thinking. Chapter 1 analyzes the creative process and develops creative thinking abilities, creating a template for approaching issues and problems both critically and creatively throughout the text. Chapter 12, “Thinking Critically, Living Creatively,” reinforces these connections and encourages students to create a life philosophy through moral choices.
- Chapter 9, “Thinking Critically About Moral Issues,” was developed at the suggestion of reviewers who noted the deep engagement many students have with the moral and ethical choices that our complex and interconnected society requires them to make.
- Chapter 10, “Constructing Arguments,” includes a section on “Constructing Extended Arguments” that presents a clear model for researching and writing argumentative essays.
- A critical-thinking test, “Tom Randall’s Halloween Party,” or the “Test of Critical Thinking Abilities,” developed by the author, is included in the Instructor’s Resource Manual and in interactive form on the student website. It provides a comprehensive evaluation of student thinking and language abilities. Using a court case format arising from a fatal student drinking incident, the test challenges students to gather and weigh evidence, ask relevant questions, construct informed beliefs, evaluate expert testimony and summation arguments, reach a verdict, and then view the entire case from a problem-solving perspective.
- THINKING CRITICALLY has many distinctive characteristics upon which instructors can support or build their curriculum. The text teaches the fundamental thinking, reasoning, and language abilities that students need for academic success.
- The text begins with basic abilities and carefully progresses to more sophisticated thinking and reasoning skills. Cognitive maps open each chapter to help students understand the thinking process, as well as the interrelationship of ideas within that chapter.
- Thinking activities, thematic boxes, readings, and writing assignments encourage active participation, stimulating students to examine their own and others’ thinking critically and to sharpen and improve their abilities. The many diverse readings provide in-depth perspectives on significant social issues.
- The development of thinking abilities is integrated with the four language skills crucial to success in college and careers: reading, writing, speaking, and listening. The abundant writing assignments (short answer, paragraph, and essay), challenging readings, and discussion exercises serve to improve students’ language skills.
Living an “Examined” Life. A Roadmap to Your Mind. Working Toward Goals. Images, Decision Making, and Thinking About Visual Information. An Organized Approach to Making Decisions. Living Creatively. Thinking Ahead.
2. Thinking Critically.
Thinking Actively. Carefully Exploring Situations with Questions. Thinking Independently. Viewing Situations from Different Perspectives. Supporting Diverse Perspectives with Reasons and Evidence. Discussing Ideas in an Organized Way. Reading Critically. Analyzing Issues.
3. Solving Problems.
Thinking Critically About Problems. Introduction to Solving Problems. Solving Complex Problems. Accepting the Problem. Solving Nonpersonal Problems.
4. Perceiving and Believing.
Actively Selecting, Organizing, and Interpreting Sensations. Perceiving and Believing. Believing and Perceiving. Types of Beliefs: Reports, Inferences, Judgments. Reporting Factual Information. Inferring. Judging.
5. Constructing Knowledge.
Believing and Knowing. Knowledge and Truth. Thinking Critically About Your Beliefs. Using Perspective-Taking to Achieve Knowledge. Beliefs Based on Indirect Experience.
6. Language and Thought.
The Evolution of Language. The Symbolic Nature of Language. Using Language Effectively. Using Language to Clarify Thinking. Using Language in Social Contexts. Using Language to Influence.
7. Forming and Applying Concepts.
What Are Concepts? The Structure of Concepts. Forming Concepts. Applying Concepts. Defining Concepts. Relating Concepts with Mind Maps.
8. Relating and Organizing.
Chronological and Process Relationships. Comparative and Analogical Relationships. Causal Relationships.
9. Thinking Critically about Moral Issues.
What Is Ethics? Your Moral Compass. The Thinker’s Guide to Moral Decision Making.
10. Constructing Arguments.
Recognizing Arguments. Evaluating Arguments. Understanding Deductive Arguments. Constructing Extended Arguments.
11. Reasoning Critically.
Inductive Reasoning. Empirical Generalization. Fallacies of False Generalization. Causal Reasoning. Causal Fallacies. Fallacies of Relevance. The Critical Thinker’s Guide to Reasoning.
12. Thinking Critically, Living Creatively.
Living a Life Philosophy. Choose Freely. Deciding on a Career. Choosing the “Good Life.”
Online Instructor's Manual
Available for download on the book companion site, the Instructor's Manual is designed to help instructors tailor THINKING CRITICALLY to their courses. The manual includes both a comprehensive bibliography of critical and creative thinking resources and a bibliography of suggested fiction, nonfiction readings, and films relating to the themes of the text.