Attempts to persuade us - to believe something, to do something, to buy something - are everywhere. What is less clear is how to think critically about such attempts and how to distinguish those that are sound arguments. "Critical Thinking: A Concise Guide" is a much needed guide to argument analysis and a clear introduction to thinking clearly and rationally for oneself. Accessibly written, this book equips students with the essential skills required to tell a good argument from a bad one. Key features of the book include: - clear, jargon-free discussion of key concepts in argumentation - how to avoid common confusions surrounding words such as 'truth', 'knowledge' and 'opinion' - how to identify and evaluate the most common types of argument - how to spot fallacies and tell good reasoning from bad - chapter summaries, exercises, examples and a glossary. The second edition has been updated to include topical new examples from politics, sport, medicine and music, as well as new exercises throughout.
Table of Contents
Preface Introduction and preview 1. Why should we become critical thinkers? Beginning to think critically : Recognising arguments Identifying conclusions and premises Intermediate conclusions Linguistic phenomena 2. Logic: Deductive validity The principle of charity Truth Deductive validity Conditional propositions Deductive soundness 3. Logic: Inductive force Inductive force 'All', 'most' and 'some' Inductive soundness Probability in the premises Arguments with multiple probabilistic premises Inductive force in extended arguments Conditional probability in the conclusion Evidence Inductive inferences A programme for assessment 4. Rhetorical ploys and fallacies Rhetorical ploys Fallacies Formal fallacies Substantive fallacies Further fallacies 5. The practice of argument reconstruction Extraneous material Implicit and explicit Connecting premises Covering generalizations Relevance Ambiguity and vagueness More on generalizations Practical reasoning Balancing costs, benefits and probabilities Explanations as conclusions Causal generalizations A shortcut 6. Issues in argument assessment Rational persuasiveness Some strategies for logical assessment Refutation by counter-example Engaging with the argument: avoiding the 'Who is to say?' criticism Argument commentary Argument trees 7. Truth, knowledge and belief Truth and relativity True for me, true for you Truth value and morality Belief, justification and truth Knowledge Justification failure Knowledge and rational persuasiveness Gettier cases Glossary Index
Tracy Bowell is lecturer in philosophy at the University of Waikato, New Zealand. Gary Kemp is lecturer in philosophy at Glasgow University.