Higher Education

Critical Thinking: The Art of Argument, 1st Edition

  • George W. Rainbolt Georgia State University
  • Sandra L. Dwyer Georgia State University
  • ISBN-10: 0495501573  |  ISBN-13: 9780495501572
  • 464 Pages
  • © 2012 | Published
  • College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $118.25
  • Newer Edition Available
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With a complete, approachable presentation, CRITICAL THINKING: THE ART OF ARGUMENT is an accessible yet rigorous introduction to critical thinking. The text emphasizes immediate application of critical thinking in students’ lives and helps students apply the skills they are studying. The relevance of these skills is shown throughout the text by highlighting the advantages of basing one’s decisions on a thoughtful understanding of arguments and presenting the overarching commonalities across arguments. With its conversational writing style and carefully selected examples, the book employs a consistent and unified treatment of logical form and an innovative semiformal method of standardizing arguments that illustrates the concept of logical form while maintaining a visible connection to ordinary speech. Without sacrificing accuracy or detail, the authors have clearly presented the material with appropriate study tools and exercises that emphasize application rather than memorization.

Features and Benefits

  • Class tested over the course of three years with more than 10,000 students and more than fifty instructors.
  • A dedication to accuracy and rigor as evidenced throughout the text yields clarity and conciseness, particularly the presentation of Analogical, Statistical, and Causal Arguments in Chapters Seven, Eight, and Nine.
  • A direct and conversational style makes the material accessible for students at all skill levels.
  • Extensive exercises in the text and in online supplements ensure that students get the practice that they need. Exercises always emphasize application over memorization. Many of the exercises are drawn from real-life examples.
  • Unique study tools and features such as Key Concept and Technical Term boxes help student comprehension and review.

Table of Contents

What Critical Thinking Is. What an Argument Is. Statements. Statements v. Sentences. Why Think Critically? Finding Arguments. The First Three Steps. Step 1. Look for an Attempt to Convince. Step 2. Find the Conclusion. Step 3. Find the Premises. Complicating Factors. Indicator Words Are Imperfect Guides. Sentence Order. Conclusions and Premises Not in Declarative Form. Unstated Premises and Unstated Conclusions. Things That Are Not Arguments. Assertions. Descriptions. Questions and Instructions. Explanations. Putting Arguments into Standard Form. Diagramming Arguments. Chapter Summary.
The Two Characteristics of a Good Argument. True Premises. Audience. The Problem of Ignorance. Proper Form. Deductive and Inductive Arguments. Guide: Terms Used in Logic, Philosophy and Math. Relevance. Dependent and Independent Premises. Arguing about Arguments. Fallacies and Relevance. Fallacy: Easy Target. Fallacy: Appeal to Popularity. Fallacy: Appeal to Novelty or Tradition. Fallacy: Ad Hominem. Fallacy: Appeal to Ignorance. Fallacy: Begging the Question. Chapter Summary.
Three Kinds of Premises. Empirical Statements. Testimonial Empirical Statements. Definitional Statements. Statements by Experts. Appropriate Credentials. Reliability. Lack of Bias. Appropriate Area of Expertise. Fallacy: Inappropriate Expertise. Expert Consensus. Guide: Proper Citation of Experts. Premises and the Internet. A Common Mistake. Conclusions. Strength of Conclusions. Scope of Conclusions. Chapter Summary.
Identifying Definitions. Extension and Intension. Genus and Species. Dictionary Definitions. Technical Definitions. Evaluating Definitions. Correct Extension. Correct Intension. Language and Clarity. Ambiguity. Fallacy: Equivocation. Vagueness. Language and Emotion. Fallacy: Appeal to Emotions. Persuasive Definitions. Euphemism. Rhetorical Devices. Chapter Summary.
Identifying Propositional Statements. Negations. Disjunctions. Conjunctions. Conditionals. Conditionals: Some Complications. Evaluating Propositional Arguments. Denying a Disjunct. Fallacy: Affirming an Inclusive Disjunct. Affirming an Exclusive Disjunct. Fallacy: False Dichotomy. Affirming the Antecedent. Fallacy: Denying the Antecedent. Denying the Consequent. Fallacy: Affirming the Consequent. Tri-conditional. Chapter Summary.
Identifying Categorical Statements. Universal Affirmation, All G1 Are G2. Universal Negation, All G1 Are Not G2. Particular Affirmation, Some G1 Are G2. Particular Negation, Some G1 Are Not G2. Evaluating Categorical Arguments with One Premise. Fallacy: Confusing a Contrary and a Contradictory. Conversion. Complements. Contraposition. Obversion. Evaluating Categorical Arguments with Two Premises. Identifying Categorical Syllogisms. Evaluating Categorical Syllogisms: the Test Method. The Equal Negations Test. The Distributed Conclusion Test. The Distributed Middle Category Test. Evaluating Categorical Syllogisms: the Venn Method. Chapter Summary.
Identifying Analogical Arguments. The Form of Analogies. Illustrative Analogies. Uses of Analogies. Logical Analogies. Refutation by Logical Analogy. Evaluating Analogical Arguments. The True Premises Test. The Proper Form Test. Relevance. Analogies, Consistency, and False Beliefs. Chapter Summary.
Descriptive Statistics. The Many Meanings of "Average." Standard Deviation. Distributions. Regressions. Identifying Statistical Arguments. Parts of a Statistical Argument. Statistical Arguments and Analogical Arguments. Evaluating Statistical Arguments. The True Premises Test. The Proper Form Test. Sampling Techniques. Statistical Fallacies. Fallacy: Hasty Generalization. Fallacy: Biased Sample. Fallacy: Biased Questions. Chapter Summary.
The Many Meanings of "Cause." Cause as Necessary Condition. Cause as Sufficient Condition. Cause as Necessary and Sufficient Condition. Contributory Cause. Primary Cause. Remote and Proximate Causes. Identifying Causal Arguments. The Form of a Causal Argument. Evaluating Causal Arguments. Premise (1), Correlation. Binary Correlation. Scalar Correlation. Establishing Correlations, Mill''s Methods. The Method of Agreement. The Method of Difference. The Joint Method of Agreement and Difference. The Method of Scalar Variation. Correlation Is Not Causation. Fallacy: Hasty Cause. Fallacy: Causal Slippery Slope. Premise (2), Causation and Time. Fallacy: Post Hoc. Premise (3), Third Party Causation. Causal Arguments by Elimination. Premise (4), Coincidental Correlation. The Scientific Method. Step 1. Identify the Question to Be Answered. Step 2. Formulate a Tentative Theory. Step 3. Check for Correlations. Step 4. If Necessary, Formulate a New Theory. Step 5. Check for Reverse Causation, Third-party Causation, and Coincidental Correlation. Step 6. Develop New Questions. An Example of the Scientific Method. Chapter Summary.
Identifying Moral Arguments. Values: Often Overlooked Presuppositions. The Nature of Moral Arguments. Moral Arguments and Truth. Moral Arguments, Emotion, and Self-interest. Evaluating Moral Arguments. Consequentialist Moral Arguments. Deontic Moral Arguments. Aretaic Moral Arguments. Moral Conflict. Chapter Summary.
Alphabetical List of Fallacies. Alphabetical List of Guides. Alphabetical List of Habits of Critical Thinkers. Alphabetical List of Key Concepts. Alphabetical List of Technical Terms.
Guide for Finding, Standardizing, and Evaluating Arguments.

Learning Resource Bundles

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ISBN-10: 1133269079 | ISBN-13: 9781133269076

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Efficacy and Outcomes


"It is a wonderfully written text that combines advantages of two standard approaches--it is both accessible and rigorous."- Nenad Popovic, Southern Methodist University

— Nenad Popovic

"A solid treatment of the relevant topics, well designed to develop the reader's reasoning skills. Students will find it both engaging and challenging."- Steve Hiltz, Southern Methodist University

— Steve Hiltz

"The book is a rigorous and comprehensive introduction to critical thinking and elementary logic, with helpful chapters on statistical, analogical, causal and moral argument. Its breadth is impressive. It's the most comprehensive critical thinking text I know of."- Hugh Wilder, The College of Charleston

— Hugh Wilder

"This is a text that is both student friendly and teacher friendly; for teachers it provides reference materials with appropriate depth and breadth, and for students it provides an unpretentious approach to a subject that is often perceived as complex and addresses student concern that critical thinking is a 'pointless' subject."- Michelle Darnell, Fayetteville State University

— Michelle Darnell


All supplements have been updated in coordination with the main title. Select the main title's "About" tab, then select "What's New" for updates specific to title's edition.

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Instructor Supplements

PowerLecture with ExamView®  (ISBN-10: 049591536X | ISBN-13: 9780495915362)

PowerLecture with ExamView® for Critical Thinking: The Art of Argument. INSTRUCTOR DESCRIPTION: This easy-to-use lecture preparation and presentation tool allows you to assemble, edit, and present custom lectures for your course using Microsoft® PowerPoint®. The CD-ROM contains ExamView® computerized testing, PowerPoint® presentations and slides for use with the JoinIn™ Student Response System are included and allow instant classroom assessment and learning. There are also example syllabi, resource integration guides, an electronic version of the Instructor’s Manual, and video clips.

Student Supplements

Cengage-Hosted WebTutor ToolBox, 1 term (6 months) Instant Access  (ISBN-10: 1133103006 | ISBN-13: 9781133103004)

List Price = $54.00  | CengageBrain Price = $54.00  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $54.00

LMS Integrated for Aplia™, 1 term Instant Access  (ISBN-10: 1285597001 | ISBN-13: 9781285597003)

Succeed in your course with Aplia's interactive learning system--featuring practice problems with immediate feedback and tools developed specifically for CRITICAL THINKING: THE ART OF ARGUMENT, 1st Edition, including step-by-step explanations that help you improve your reasoning and skills, interactive assignments that help you understand difficult or counterintuitive concepts, and more. Aplia has already helped more than a million students succeed in college classes.

List Price = $101.00  | CengageBrain Price = $101.00  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $101.00

Meet the Author

Author Bio

George W. Rainbolt

Dr. George W. Rainbolt is Professor and Chair of the Department of Philosophy at Georgia State University. He is the co-author of ETHICS (Harper-Collins 1994) and the author of THE CONCEPT OF RIGHTS (Springer 2006) as well as numerous articles. He chairs the Georgia State University Senate Committee on Admissions and Standards, has served on Georgia State University's General Education Assessment Committee, was a member of the Georgia State's SACS Accreditation Leadership Team, and is a member of Georgia State's Critical Thinking through Writing Leadership Team.

Sandra L. Dwyer

Dr. Sandra L. Dwyer is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Philosophy at Georgia State University. As Coordinator for Graduate Teaching, she mentors twenty to thirty graduate students each year, overseeing their initial experience of teaching philosophy, including Critical Thinking sections. Over the past twenty years, she has taught numerous courses including more than 100 sections of critical thinking. She is the author of THINKING ETHICALLY IN BUSINESS (Humanities-Ebooks, 2008).