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Critical Reasoning

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CENGAGE Learning
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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."

Table of Contents

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
The Anatomy of Arguments: Identifying Premises and Conclusions
The Key to Identification: Seeing What Is Supported by What
Clues to Identifying Argument Part s: Indicator Words
Marking the Part s 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
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
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
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
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
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
"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
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
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
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
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
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
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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