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How to Think about Weird Things : Critical Thinking for a New Age,9780072879537

How to Think about Weird Things : Critical Thinking for a New Age

by
Edition:
4th
ISBN13:

9780072879537

ISBN10:
007287953X
Format:
Paperback
Pub. Date:
8/5/2004
Publisher(s):
McGraw-Hill Humanities/Social Sciences/Languages
List Price: $46.90
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Summary

This brief, inexpensive text helps students think critically, using examples from the weird claims and beliefs that abound in our culture to demonstrate the sound evaluation of any claim. The authors focus on types of logical arguments and proofs, making How to Think about Weird Things a versatile supplement for logic, critical thinking, philosophy of science, or any other science appreciation courses.

Table of Contents

Foreword

Preface

Chapter 1. Introduction: Close Encounters with the Strange

The Importance of Why

Beyond Weird to the Absurd

A Weirdness Sampler

Notes

Chapter 2. The Possibility of the Impossible

Paradigms and the Paranormal

Logical Possibility Versus Physical Impossibility

The Possibility of ESP

Theories and Things

On Knowing the Future

Study Questions
Evaluate These Claims
Discussion Questions
Field Problem
Critical Reading and Writing
Suggested Readings
Notes

Chapter 3. Looking for Truth in Personal Experience

Seeming and Being

Perceiving: True or False?

Perceptual Constancies
The Role of Expectation
Looking for Clarity in Vagueness
The Blondlot Case
"Constructing" UFOs

Remembering: Do We Revise the Past?

Judging: The Habit of Unwarranted Assumptions

Denying the Evidence

Subjective Validation

Confirmation Bias

The Availability Error

The Representativeness Heuristic

Against All Odds

The Limits of Personal Experience

Study Questions
Evaluate These Claims
Discussion Questions
Field Problem
Critical Reading and Writing
Suggested Readings
Notes

Chapter 4. Relativism, Truth, and Reality

We Each Create Our Own Reality

Reality Is Socially Constructed

Reality Is Constituted by Conceptual Schemes

The Relativist's Petard

Facing Reality

Study Questions
Evaluate These Claims
Discussion Questions
Field Problem
Critical Reading and Writing
Suggested Readings
Notes

Chapter 5. Knowledge, Belief, and Evidence

Babylonian Knowledge-Acquisition Techniques

Propositional Knowledge

Reasons and Evidence

Expert Opinion

Coherence and Justification

Sources of Knowledge

The Appeal to Faith

The Appeal to Intuition

The Appeal to Mystical Experience

Astrology Revisited

Study Questions
Evaluate These Claims
Discussion Questions
Field Problem
Critical Reading and Writing
Suggested Readings
Notes

Chapter 6. Arguments Good, Bad, and Weird

Claims and Arguments

Deductive Arguments

Inductive Arguments

Enumerative Induction
Analogical Induction
Hypothetical Induction (Abduction, or Inference to the Best of Explanation)

Informal Fallacies

Unacceptable Premises
Irrelevant Premises
Insufficient Premises
Study Questions
Evaluate These Claims
Discussion Questions
Field Problem
Critical Reading and Writing
Suggested Readings
Notes

Chapter 7. Science and Its Pretenders

Science and Dogma

Science and Scientism

Scientific Methodology

Confirming and Confuting Hypotheses

Criteria of Adequacy

Testability
Fruitfulness
Scope
Simplicity
Conservatism

Creationism, Evolution, and Criteria of Adequacy

Scientific Creationism
Intelligent Design

Parapsychology

Study Questions
Evaluate These Claims
Discussion Questions
Field Problem
Critical Reading and Writing
Suggested Readings
Notes

Chapter 8. How to Assess a "Miracle Cure"

Personal Experience

The Variable Nature of Illness
The Placebo Effect
Overlooked Causes

The Doctor's Evidence

The Appeal to Tradition

The Reasons of Science

Medical Research
Types of Studies
Study Questions
Evaluate These Claims
Discussion Questions
Field Problem
Critical Reading and Writing
Suggested Readings
Notes

Chapter 9. Case Studies in the Extraordinary

The Search Formula

Step 1:State the Claim
Step 2:Examine the Evidence for the Claim
Step 3:Consider Alternative Hypotheses
Step 4:Rate, According to the Criteria of Adequacy, Each Hypothesis

Homeopathy

Dowsing

UFO Abductions

Communicating with the Dead

Near-Death Experiences

Ghosts

Study Questions
Evaluate These Claims by Using the Search Method
Field Problem
Critical Reading and Writing
Suggested Readings
Notes

Epilogue Mysteries in Perspective

Credits

Index



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