Critical Thinking, Reading, and Writing

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  • Edition: 8th
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2013-08-23
  • Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's

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Critical Thinking, Reading, and Writing is a compact but complete guide to critical thinking and argumentation. Comprising the text portion of the widely adopted Current Issues and Enduring Questions, it draws on the authors’ dual expertise in effective persuasive writing and comprehensive rhetorical strategies to help students move from critical thinking to argumentative and researched writing. This extraordinarily versatile text includes comprehensive coverage of classic and contemporary approaches to argument, from Aristotelian to Toulmin, to a new chapter on rhetorical analysis of pop culture texts, as well as 35 readings (including e-Pages that allow students to take advantage of working with multimodal arguments on the Web), and a casebook on the state and the individual. This affordable guide can stand alone or supplement a larger anthology of readings.

Author Biography

Sylvan Barnet, professor of English and former director of writing at Tufts University, is the most prolific and consistently successful college English textbook author in the country. His several texts on writing and his numerous anthologies for introductory composition and literature courses have remained leaders in their field through many editions.

Hugo Bedau, professor of philosophy at Tufts University, has served as chair of the philosophy department and chair of the university’s committee on College Writing. An internationally respected expert on the death penalty, and on moral, legal, and political philosophy, he has written or edited a number of books on these topics. He is the author of Thinking and Writing about Philosophy, Second Edition (Bedford/St. Martin’s).

Table of Contents


Part One     

Critical Thinking and Writing

1 Critical Thinking 

Thinking about Drivers’ Licenses and Photographic Identification 

Analyzing and Evaluating Multiple Perspectives

Critical Thinking at Work: From Jottings to a Short Essay

*A Student’s Essay, Developed from a Cluster

*Idea Prompt: Mapping Pros and Cons

*Play Ball: Why Home-Schoolers Should Be Allowed to Play on Public School Teams

*The Essay Analyzed

Writing as a Way of Thinking

Getting Ideas

Idea Prompt:  Understanding Classical Topics

A Checklist for Critical Thinking

A Short Essay Illustrating Critical Thinking

Harlan Coben, The Undercover Parent

Letter of Response by Carol Weston

A Checklist for Evaluating Letters of Response

Examining Assumptions

A Checklist for Examining Assumptions

* Jena McGregor, Military Women in Combat: Why Making It Official Matters

Five Exercises in Critical Thinking

*e-Pages Oxfam, The Truth about Women and Chocolate [advertisement]

*e-Pages The White House, 1 Is 2 Many [public service announcement]

2 Critical Reading: Getting Started

Active Reading

*Summarizing and Paraphrasing Contrasted with Patchwriting

*Paraphrase, Patchwriting, and Plagiarism

*A Checklist for a Paraphrase

Last Words (Almost) about Summarizing

Susan Jacoby, A First Amendment Junkie

Summarizing Jacoby, Paragraph by Paragraph

A Checklist for Getting Started

*Zachary M. Shemtab and J David Lat, "Executions Should Be Televised"

Gwen Wilde (student essay), Why the Pledge of Allegiance Should Be Revised

A Casebook for Critical Reading: Should Some Kinds of Speech be Censored? 

Susan Brownmiller, Let’s Put Pornography Back in the Closet 

Charles R. Lawrence III, On Racist Speech 

Derek Bok, Protecting Freedom of Expression on the Campus 

Thinking Further about Freedom of Expression and Facebook

3 Critical Reading: Getting Deeper into Arguments 

Persuasion, Argument, Dispute 

*Idea Prompt: Establishing Trustworthiness and Credibility

Reason versus Rationalization

Some Procedures in Argument


Idea Prompt: Ways to Give Definitions

A Checklist for Evaluation Statistical Evidence 

Nonrational Appeals 

Does All Writing Contain Arguments? 

A Checklist for Analyzing an Argument

An Example: An Argument and a Look at the Writer’s Strategies 

George F. Will, Being Green at Ben and Jerry’s 

George F. Will’s Strategies

Arguments for Analysis

Stanley Fish, When "Identity" Politics is Rational

Gloria Jiménez (student essay), Against the Odds, and Against the Common Good 

Anna Lisa Raya (student essay), It’s Hard Enough Being Me 

Ronald Takaki, The Harmful Myth of Asian Superiority 

James Q. Wilson, Just Take Away Their Guns 

*Kayla Webley, Is Forgiving Student Loan Debt a Good Idea?*Alfred Edmond Jr., Why Asking For a Job Applicant’s Facebook Password Is Fair Game

*Sherry Turkle, The Flight From Conversation

*e-Pages Aurora Meneghello and Serge Bakalian, Trailer for Default: The Student Loan Movie [film trailer]

4 Visual Rhetoric: Images as Arguments

Some Uses of Images 

Appeals to the Eye (And Thus to the Emotions)

Are Some Images not Fit to be Shown? Politics and Pictures

Exercises: Thinking about Images

Reading Advertisements 

A Checklist for Analyzing Images (Especially Advertisements) 

Writing about a Political CartoonA Checklist for Analyzing Political Cartoons

Idea Prompt:  Analysis of a Political Cartoon

Jackson Smith (student essay), Pledging Nothing?

Visuals as Aids to Clarity: Maps, Graphs, Tables, and Pie Charts 

A Checklist for Charts and Graphs

A Note on Using Visuals in Your Own Paper 

A Note on Formatting Your Paper: Document Design

Additional Images for Analysis

Nora Ephron, The Boston Photographs

*e-Pages Josh Harkinson/Mother Jones, How Industrial Pot Growers Ravage the Land: A Google Earth Tour [news article and video]

*e-Pages United States Agency for International Development, "How to Feed the Future" and "Mobile Phones Tackling Poverty" [infographics]

Part Two

Critical Writing

5 Writing an Analysis of an Argument

Analyzing an Argument

Idea Prompt:  Drawing Conclusions and Implying Proof 

A Checklist for Analyzing an Author’s Audience

A Checklist for Analyzing a Text

An Argument, Its Elements, and a Student’s Analysis of the Argument

Nicholas D. Kristof, For Environmental Balance, Pick Up a Rifle

Betsy Swinton (student essay), Tracking Kristof

An Analysis of the Student’s Analysis

A Checklist for Writing an Analysis of an Argument

Arguments for Analysis 

Jeff Jacoby, Bring Back Flogging 

Gerald Jones, Violent Media Is Good for Kids

*Justin Cronin, Confessions of a Liberal Gun Owner

Peter Singer, Animal Liberation 

Jonathan Swift, A Modest Proposal

*e-Pages Barack Obama, President Obama on the Death of Osama bin Laden [speech]

6 Developing an Argument of Your Own

Planning, Drafting, and Revising an Argument 

A Checklist for a Thesis Statement

A Checklist for Imagining an Audience

Idea Prompt:  Using Transitions in Argument

*A Last Word about Outlines

*A Checklist for Organizing an Argument

*Idea Prompt: Varying Tone

A Checklist for Attending to the Needs of the Audience 

Peer Review 

A Peer Review Checklist for a Draft of an Argument

A Student’s Essay, from Rough Notes to Final Version 

Emily Andrews, Why I Don’t Spare "Spare Change" 

The Essay Analyzed


*e-Pages Casey Neistat, Calorie Detective [investigative video]

7 Using Sources

Why Use Sources? 

Choosing a Topic 

Finding Material 

Finding Quality Information on the Web

A Word about Wikipedia

Finding Articles Using Library Databases

Locating Books

Interviewing Peers and Local Authorities 

Evaluating Your Sources 

Taking Notes 

A Checklist for Evaluating Print Sources 

A Checklist for Evaluating Electronic Sources 

A Note on Plagiarizing, Paraphrasing, and Using Common Knowledge 

A Checklist for Avoiding Plagiarism 

Compiling an Annotated Bibliography 

Writing the Paper 

Quoting from Sources 

Incorporating Your Reading into Your Thinking: The Art and Science of Synthesis 

The Use and Abuse of Quotations

How to Quote

A Checklist for Using Quotations Rather than Summaries


Idea Prompt: Signal Phrases

A Note on Footnotes (and Endnotes)

MLA Format: Citations within the Text

MLA Format: The List of Works Cited

APA Format: Citations within the Text

APA Format: The List of References

A Checklist for Papers Using Sources

An Annotated Student Research Paper in MLA Format 

*Lesley Timmerman, An Argument for Corporate Responsibility

An Annotated Student Research Paper in APA Format 

Laura Deveau, The Role of Spirituality and Religion in Mental Health

Part Three

Further Views on Argument

8 A Philosopher’s View: The Toulmin Model

The Claim




Modal Qualifiers 


*Idea Prompt: Constructing a Toulmin Argument

Putting the Toulmin Method to Work: Responding to an Argument

*Responding to an Argument

*James E. McWilliams, The Locavore Myth: Why Buying from Nearby Farmers Won’t Save the


Thinking with Toulmin’s Method

A Checklist for Using the Toulmin Method

9 A Logician’s View: Deduction, Induction, Fallacies




Fallacies of Ambiguity

Fallacies of Presumption

Fallacies of Relevance

A Checklist for Evaluating an Argument from a Logical Point of View

Exercise: Fallacies--Or Not?

Max Shulman, Love Is a Fallacy

10 A Psychologist’s View: Rogerian Argument

Rogerian Argument: An Introduction

Carl R. Rogers, Communication: Its Blocking and Its Facilitation

A Checklist for Analyzing Rogerian Argument

Edward O. Wilson, Letter to a Southern Baptist Minister

*11 A Rhetorician’s View: Rhetorical Analysis of Non-Traditional Texts

*How rhetoricians analyze arguments

*Production, Distribution, and Consumption: Performing a Rhetorical Analysis

*A Checklist for Rhetorical Analysis

*Michelle Dean, Here Comes the Hillbilly, Again

12 A Literary Critic’s View: Arguing about Literature


Judging (or Evaluating) 


A Checklist for an Argument about Literature

Examples: Two Students Interpret Robert Frost’s "Mending Wall"

Robert Frost, Mending Wall 

Jonathan Deutsch, The Deluded Speaker in Frost’s "Mending Wall" 

Felicia Alonso, The Debate in Robert Frost’s "Mending Wall"

Exercises: Reading a Poem and a Story 

Andrew Marvell, To His Coy Mistress 

Kate Chopin, The Story of an Hour 

Thinking about the Effects of Literature 

Plato, "The Greater Part of the Stories Current Today We Shall Have to Reject"

Thinking about Government Funding for the Arts

13 A Debater’s View: Individual Oral Presentations and Debate

*Individual Presentations

A Checklist for an Oral Presentation

The Audience


The Talk

Formal Debate

Standard Debate Format

A Checklist for Preparing for a Debate

e-Pages A Moralist’s View: Ways of Thinking Ethically

Amoral Reasoning

Immoral Reasoning 

Moral Reasoning: A Closer Look 

Criteria for Moral Rules 

A Checklist for Moral Reasoning

Peter Singer, Famine, Affluence, and Morality 

Garret Hardin, Lifeboat Ethics: The Case against Helping the Poor 

Randy Cohen, Three Letters (to an Ethicist)

e-Pages A Lawyer’s View: Steps toward Civic Literacy

Civil and Criminal Cases 

Trial and Appeal

Decision and Opinion 

Majority, Concurring, and Dissenting Opinions 

Facts and Law 

Balancing Interests 

A Word of Caution

A Checklist for Analyzing Legal Arguments

A Casebook on the Law and Society: What Rights do the Constitution and the Bill of Rights Protect? 

Byron R. White and John Paul Stevens, New Jersey v. T.L.O. 

Harry Blackmun and William H. Rehnquist, Roe v. Wade

Part Four

A Casebook on the State and the Individual

26 What Is the Ideal Society? 

Thomas More, From Utopia 

Niccolo Machiavelli, From The Prince 

Thomas Jefferson, The Declaration of Independence 

Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions 

Martin Luther King Jr., I Have a Dream 

W. H. Auden, The Unknown Citizen 

Langston Hughes, Let America Be America Again 

Ursula K. Le Guin, The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas

Helen Prejean, Executions are Too Costly, Morally


Index of Authors and Titles

Index of Terms


*new to this edition

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