Critical Reasoning and Logic / Edition 1

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Overview

Maintaining that the ultimate goal of critical reasoning is to make informed, educated decisions, this text presents a process that enables the reader to apply proper reasoning techniques in a practical fashion. This book is balanced between three activities: identification of arguments, evaluation of arguments using inductive reasoning, and evaluation of arguments using deductive reasoning. For computer scientists, mathematicians, philosophers, or anyone who is interested in using the practical applications of logic to evaluate their own writing and arguments as well as the writing and arguments of others.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This is an excellent text. The writing is strong. In particular, the section on identifying arguments is well done. The writing applications give the students a strong sense of the practical applications of logical principles, something missing from many texts." — Michael Coste, Front Range Community College

"A comprehensive introduction to the basics of reasoning, with helpful summaries and exercises. Both student and instructor should find this a useful tool for enhancing reasoning skills." — Scott Shalkowski, University of Leeds

"Boyd has written a wide-ranging text that will be useful for almost any kind of introductory course in logic or critical reasoning. The author is to be commended for writing an accessible text that also has plenty of rigor....Boyd's book does an effective job in covering the topics most instructors will be looking for in a textbook of this sort, but it also stands out in terms of the real-life reasoning exercises it provides and the way it focuses on practical applications." — William Lawhead, University of Mississippi

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780130812216
  • Publisher: Pearson
  • Publication date: 10/10/2002
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 337
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Critical reasoning requires the criteria provided by logic. It requires a critical reasoner who is sensitive to the context of the materials being examined. Critical reasoning requires an evaluation process by which revision is possible, of both the reasoning being examined and the critical reasoner him- or herself. Furthermore, I have been influenced by my belief that critical reasoning must be practical. Students will use logic only when they are shown that it is relevant to them. Also, I have kept in mind that the role of critical reasoning is not to end discussion, but to stimulate it, for, in discussion, new insights are gained. Critical reasoning is best learned when students observe instructors doing it and allowing students to engage in it. As a result, some of the positions taken in this text are open to debate. For example, does one's attitude toward truth affect one's approach to critical reasoning? Or can some arguments reflect both deductive and inductive reasoning? Finally, the text reflects my belief that an adequate system of critical reasoning must have a balanced emphasis between deductive and inductive reasoning. Induction, which is the most practical form of reasoning, cannot be relegated to a single chapter or two. Nor should the presentation of deductive reasoning leave the student with the idea that a valid argument renders truth. Depending upon the nature of the course, the interests of the instructor, and the abilities of the students, some sections of the text will be more relevant than others.

While critical reasoning is an art and a science that requires both the discipline and practical application of logic, there is no single approach to teaching the subject. Some instructors prefer to approach critical reasoning from a more formal and rigorous angle, even in their introductory courses in logic. Others—especially those who do critical thinking—prefer a very informal approach that deals only with arguments in natural language. In writing this text, I have kept both approaches in mind. I have maintained the precision and rigor, to the extent possible in an introductory text, that is required by the more formal approach. I also have preserved the flexibility of the informal strategy. It is important both to make critical reasoning relevant to students and to understand how much material can be realistically covered in a term, while meeting the requirements and objectives of the course. This text covers more ground than any instructor could cover in a single semester with undergraduates.

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Table of Contents

I. INTRODUCTION.

1. Introduction.

2. Foundations.

3. Introduction to Arguments.

II. INDUCTIVE REASONING.

4. Basic Probability.

5. Enumerative Induction.

6. Causal Reasoning.

III. DEDUCTIVE REASONING.

7. Conditional Logic.

8. Propositional Logic.

9. Categorical and Predicate Logics.

IV. APPLICATION.

10. Pulling It Altogether.

Appendix A: Scientific Confirmation.

Appendix B: Solutions to Selected Problems.

Appendix C: Additional Readings.

Index.

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Preface

Critical reasoning requires the criteria provided by logic. It requires a critical reasoner who is sensitive to the context of the materials being examined. Critical reasoning requires an evaluation process by which revision is possible, of both the reasoning being examined and the critical reasoner him- or herself. Furthermore, I have been influenced by my belief that critical reasoning must be practical. Students will use logic only when they are shown that it is relevant to them. Also, I have kept in mind that the role of critical reasoning is not to end discussion, but to stimulate it, for, in discussion, new insights are gained. Critical reasoning is best learned when students observe instructors doing it and allowing students to engage in it. As a result, some of the positions taken in this text are open to debate. For example, does one's attitude toward truth affect one's approach to critical reasoning? Or can some arguments reflect both deductive and inductive reasoning? Finally, the text reflects my belief that an adequate system of critical reasoning must have a balanced emphasis between deductive and inductive reasoning. Induction, which is the most practical form of reasoning, cannot be relegated to a single chapter or two. Nor should the presentation of deductive reasoning leave the student with the idea that a valid argument renders truth. Depending upon the nature of the course, the interests of the instructor, and the abilities of the students, some sections of the text will be more relevant than others.

While critical reasoning is an art and a science that requires both the discipline and practical application of logic, there is no single approach to teaching the subject. Some instructors prefer to approach critical reasoning from a more formal and rigorous angle, even in their introductory courses in logic. Others—especially those who do critical thinking—prefer a very informal approach that deals only with arguments in natural language. In writing this text, I have kept both approaches in mind. I have maintained the precision and rigor, to the extent possible in an introductory text, that is required by the more formal approach. I also have preserved the flexibility of the informal strategy. It is important both to make critical reasoning relevant to students and to understand how much material can be realistically covered in a term, while meeting the requirements and objectives of the course. This text covers more ground than any instructor could cover in a single semester with undergraduates.

Read More Show Less

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