Asking the Right Questions

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  • Edition: 9th
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2010-01-01
  • Publisher: Pearson Prentice Hall
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Used in a variety of courses in various disciplines,Asking the Right Questions helps bridge the gap between simply memorizing or blindly accepting information, and the greater challenge of critical analysis and synthesis. Specifically, this concise text teaches how to think critically by exploring the components of arguments--issues, conclusions, reasons, evidence, assumptions, language--and on how to spot fallacies and manipulations and obstacles to critical thinking.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. ix
The Benefit of Asking the Right Questionsp. 1
Introductionp. 1
Critical Thinking to the Rescuep. 2
The Sponge and Panning for Gold: Alternative Thinking Stylesp. 3
An Example of the Panning-for Gold Approachp. 4
Panning for Gold: Asking Critical Questionp. 6
The Myth of the "Right Answer"p. 6
The Usefulness of Asking the Question, "Who Cares?"p. 7
Weak-Sense and Strong-Sense Critical Thinkingp. 8
The Satisfaction of Panning for Goldp. 9
Effective Communication and Critical Thinkingp. 9
The Importance of Practicep. 9
The Right Questionp. 10
Critical Thinking As a Social Activityp. 11
Values and Other Peoplep. 11
The Primary Values of a Critical Thinkerp. 13
Thinking and Feelingp. 14
Keeping the Conversation Goingp. 15
Avoiding the Dangers of Groupthinkp. 18
What Are the Issue and the Conclusion?p. 19
Kinds of Issuesp. 20
Searching for the Issuep. 21
Searching for the Authors' or Speaker's Conclusionp. 22
Clues to Discovery: How to Find the Conclusionp. 23
Critical Thinking and Your Own Writing and Speakingp. 24
Practice Exercisesp. 25
What Are the Reasons?p. 28
Reasons + Conclusion = Argumentp. 29
Initiating the Questioning processp. 30
Words That Identify Reasonsp. 31
Kinds of Reasonsp. 32
Keeping the reasons and conclusions Straightp. 33
Critical Thinking and Your Own Writing and Speakingp. 34
Practice Exercisesp. 34
What Words or Phrases Are Ambiguousp. 37
The Confusing Flexibility of Wordsp. 38
Locating Key Terms and Phrasesp. 38
Checking for Ambiguityp. 40
Determining Ambiguityp. 41
Context and Ambiguityp. 43
Ambiguity, Definitions, and the Dictionaryp. 44
Ambiguity and Loaded Languagep. 46
Limits of Your Responsibility to Clarify Ambiguityp. 48
Ambiguity and Your Own Writing and Speakingp. 48
Summaryp. 48
Practice Exercisesp. 49
What Are the Value and Descriptive Assumptions?p. 53
General Guide for Identifying Assumptionsp. 55
Value Conflicts and Assumptionsp. 56
Typical value Conflictsp. 57
The Communicator's Background as a Clue to Value Assumptionsp. 58
Consequences as Clues to Value Assumptionsp. 58
More Hints for Finding Value Assumptionsp. 59
Finding Value Assumptions on Your Ownp. 60
Values and Relativismp. 62
Identifying and Evaluating Descriptive Assumptionsp. 62
Illustrating Descriptive Assumptionsp. 62
Clues for Locating Assumptionsp. 64
Avoiding Analysis of Trivial Assumptionsp. 66
Assumptions and Your Own Writing and Speakingp. 66
Practice exercisesp. 67
Are There Any Fallacies in the Reasoning?p. 70
A Questioning Approach to Finding Reasoning Fallaciesp. 71
Evaluating Assumptions as a Starting Pointp. 72
Discovering Other Common Reasoning Fallaciesp. 74
Looking for Diversionsp. 80
Sleight of Hand: Begging the Questionp. 82
Summary of Reasoning Errorsp. 83
Expanding Your Knowledge of Fallaciesp. 84
Fallacies and Your Own Writing and Speakingp. 85
Practice Exercisesp. 85
How Good Is the Evidence: Intuition, Personal Experience, Testimonials, and Appeals to Authority?p. 89
The Need for Evidencep. 89
Locating Factual Claimp. 91
Sources of Evidencep. 92
Intuition as Evidencep. 93
Dangers of Appealing to Personal Experience and Anecdotes as Evidencep. 94
Appeals to Authority as Evidencep. 96
Summaryp. 100
Practice Exercisesp. 100
How Good Is the Evidence: Personal Observation, Research Studies, Case Examples, and Analogies?p. 103
Personal Observationp. 103
Research Studies as Evidencep. 104
Generalizing from the Research Samplep. 108
Biased Surveys and Questionnairesp. 110
Critical Evaluation of a Research-Based Argumentp. 111
Case Examples as Evidencep. 113
Analogies as Evidencep. 114
Summaryp. 118
Practice Exercisesp. 118
Are There Rival Causes?p. 122
When to Look for Rival Causesp. 123
The Pervasiveness of Rival Causesp. 123
Detecting Rival Causesp. 126
The Cause or A Causep. 126
Rival Causes for Differences Between Groupsp. 129
Confusing Causation with Associationp. 130
Confusing "After this" with "Because of this"p. 132
Explaining Individual Events or Actsp. 133
Evaluating Rival Causesp. 134
Evidence and Your Own Writing and Speakingp. 134
Summaryp. 134
Practice Exercisesp. 134
Are the Statistics Deceptive?p. 137
Unknowable and Biased Statisticsp. 138
Confusing Averagesp. 138
Concluding One Thing, Proving Anotherp. 140
Deceiving by Omitting Informationp. 141
Risk Statistics and Omitted Informationp. 143
Summaryp. 144
Practice Exercisesp. 144
What Significant Information Is Omitted?p. 147
The Benefits of Detecting Omitted Informationp. 148
The Certainty of Incomplete Reasoningp. 148
Questions That Identify Omitted Informationp. 150
The Importance of the Negative Viewp. 152
Omitted Information That Remains Missingp. 153
Practice Exercisesp. 154
What Reasonable Conclusions Are Possiblee?p. 157
Assumptions and Multiple Conclusionsp. 158
Dichotomous Thinking: impediment to Considering Multiple Conclusionsp. 158
Two Sides or Many?p. 159
Searching for Multiple Conclusionsp. 160
Productivity of If-Clausesp. 161
Alternative Solutions as Conclusionsp. 162
The Liberating Effect of Recognizing Alternative Conclusionsp. 162
All Conclusion Are Not Created Equalp. 163
Summaryp. 163
Practice Exercisesp. 164
Overcoming Obstacles to Critical Thinkingp. 167
Reviewing Familiar Obstaclesp. 167
Mental Habits That Betray Usp. 168
Wishful Thinkingp. 173
Final Wordp. 174
Indexp. 176
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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Amazing March 20, 2011
This textbook is the strongest introduction to critical thinking I have read so far. I needed this book for a logics class. This textbook is extremely helpful at opening up one's mind to alternatives by asking questions. Not just a few questions, but question everything. Questioning leads to knowledge, and knowledge leads to wisdom. Almost thought about keeping it at the end of the semester instead of selling it back.
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