Higher Education

The Elements of Reasoning, 6th Edition

  • Ronald Munson University of Missouri, St. Louis
  • Andrew Black University of Missouri, St. Louis
  • ISBN-10: 0495809187  |  ISBN-13: 9780495809180
  • 256 Pages
  • Previous Editions: 2007, 2004, 2000
  • © 2012 | Published
  • College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $88.00
  • Newer Edition Available
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About

Overview

THE ELEMENTS OF REASONING is a concise and lucid introduction to the basic elements of argumentative prose and the conceptual tools necessary to understand, analyze, criticize, and construct arguments. This text is not only perfect for a college course in argument analysis, but also as a reference tool when confronted with arguments outside the classroom experience. While THE ELEMENTS OF REASONING covers the standard formal tools of introductory logic, its emphasis is on practical applications to the kinds of arguments students most often encounter.

Features and Benefits

  • Concise and easy-to-read, this text serves not only as a core text but is also an appropriate reference in many courses.
  • The text features coverage of common methods of argument not included in most concise texts: causal reasoning, analogical reasoning, reasonable belief, and categorical logic.
  • This book presents readily accessible treatment of real-life arguments, presented in a way that doesn't demand excessive theoretical preparation.

Table of Contents

Preface.
Briefing.
Basic Assumptions.
Organization.
Using This Book.
1. RECOGNIZING ARGUMENTS.
What Is an Argument? Three General Considerations. Recognizing Arguments. Multiple Conclusions and Complex Arguments. Exercises.
2. ANALYZING ARGUMENTS.
Showing the Structure of Arguments. Strategies of Analysis. Two Special Problems. Analyzing a Complex Argument: An Example. Exercises.
3. EVALUATING ARGUMENTS.
Deductive Arguments. Exercises. Nondeductive Arguments. Complex Arguments. Exercises. Overall Argument Evaluation. Exercises.
4. SOME VALID ARGUMENT FORMS.
Sentential Form. Exercises. Valid Argument Forms. Two Invalid Argument Forms. Exercises. Using the Forms to Show Validity. Exercises. Conditionals. Equivalent Forms. Exercises. Using Inference and Equivalence Rules. Deductive Proof Strategies. Exercises.
5. MORE VALID ARGUMENT FORMS: CATEGORICAL REASONING AND VENN DIAGRAMS.
Categorical Statements. Exercises. Categorical Syllogisms. Exercises.
6. CAUSAL ANALYSIS.
Basic Causal Relationships. Contributing Factors as "Causes." Causal Explanations. Testing Causal Claims. Experimental Trials. Exercises.
7. ARGUMENT BY ANALOGY AND MODELS.
Analogical Arguments. Models. Evaluating Analogical Reasoning. Exercises.
8. ERRORS IN REASONING: FALLACIES.
Fallacies in Supporting a Claim. Fallacies of Criticism and Response. Exercises.
9. DEFINITION.
Definition of "Definition." Two Types of Definition. Methods of Definition. Standards of Definition. Working Out a Definition. Exercises.
10. VAGUENESS AND AMBIGUITY.
Vagueness. Ambiguity. Exercises.
11. REASONABLE BELIEFS.
Granted Claims and Acceptable Beliefs. New Claims, Background Beliefs, and Rationality. Exercises.
12. RULES FOR WRITING.
Structure. Style. Exercises: Some Answers, Hints, and Comments.
Index.

What's New

  • NEW! Deductive strategies were introduced in Chapter 4 along with illustrations of their use.
  • NEW! Chapter 9 now includes worked out examples of how definitions can be employed to resolve serious problems.
  • NEW! Fresh, focused and relevant exercises have been added to replace any which had become stale and dated. Actual, realistic cases were used and contrived ones avoided.
  • NEW! Answers in the back of the text now contain more detailed discussions explaining the chosen "best" answer as well as, when appropriate, alternatives.

Efficacy and Outcomes

Reviews

"I would adopt this textbook in a heartbeat for a class on critical thinking. I am impressed with how much is accomplished in a slim volume. The clarity of writing is one of the great strengths of this text."-- Elizabeth Meade , Cedar Crest College

— Elizabeth Meade

"As a foundational guide to reasoning, Munson and Black’s effort in this edition is commendable – well organized, filled with timely examples, and weighted with the clearest and most substantive content that I have seen in such a textbook."-- Jason Black , University of Alabama

— Jason Black

"I would adopt this textbook in a heartbeat for a class on critical thinking. I am impressed with how much is accomplished in a slim volume. The clarity of writing is one of the great strengths of this text."-- Elizabeth Meade , Cedar Crest College

— Elizabeth Meade

"As a foundational guide to reasoning, Munson and Black’s effort in this edition is commendable – well organized, filled with timely examples, and weighted with the clearest and most substantive content that I have seen in such a textbook."-- Jason Black , University of Alabama

— Jason Black

Meet the Author

Author Bio

Ronald Munson

Ronald Munson is Professor of Philosophy of Science and Medicine at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and a nationally acclaimed bioethicist. After receiving his Ph.D. from Columbia University, he was a Postdoctoral Fellow in Biology at Harvard University and a Visiting Fellow at the Harvard Medical School. Munson has served as a bioethicist for the National Eye Institute and the National Cancer Institute, as an editor for the AMERICAN JOURANAL OF SURGERY, and as a member of the Washington University Human Studies Committee. Munson’s other books include RAISING THE DEAD: ORGAN TRANSPLANTS, ETHICS, AND SOCIETY, THE WOMAN WHO DECIDED TO DIE: CHALLENGES AND CHOICES AT THE EDGES OF MEDICINE, REASONING IN MEDICINE, and ELEMENTS OF REASONING, 7e (with Andrew Black). He is also the author of the novels NOTHING HUMAN, FAN MAIL, NIGHT VISION, and THE HARVARD GAME.

Andrew Black

Andrew Black was educated at University College, London, and University of Massachusetts, Amherst, from which he received his Ph.D. He taught at Dartmouth College and Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, and is currently Teaching Professor at University of Missouri–St. Louis, where he has taught since 1999. He has published in the areas of history of philosophy and epistemology and is the writer and presenter of the educational television series Great Philosophers.