From the Publisher
“Excellent: explanations are very clear; end of section exercises reinforce the material in the text very effectively; diagrams and inset examples are also helpful” —Victoria Rogers, Indiana University- Perdue University Indianapolis
“I really liked the way Waller uses a court of law to organize this text.” —Eli Kanon, University of North Florida
“I have been using Waller's book (4th and 5th editions) for years and I find it is an excellent way to introduce critical thinking to students and to show the importance of it in daily life. I especially like how he reasons out in words truth table reasoning rather than simply teaching it as a plug and chug methods.” —Jean Miller, Virginia Tech
“I like the pedagogy of the book. Having used it in the past, it worked quite well.” —Glenn Sanford, Sam Houston State University
“The first half of the text focuses on how to recognize and construct a good argument, while the second half of the text deals with how to recognize and avoid bad arguments." —Chris Clayton, Portland Community College
Read an Excerpt
Critical thinking is a valuable skill: whether you are deciding what toothpaste to use or what stocks to buy; which job to pursue or which courses you should take; what candidate to vote for or what cause to support; or which reports to believe and which claims to reject. But one of the most important places for careful critical thinking is in the jury room. Serving on a jury is one of the most significant and basic ways that citizens actively participate in their government, and effective jury service requires a great deal of citizens. Jurors must set aside any biases and judge the issues fairly; they must reason carefully about what laws are involved, and how those laws apply to the particulars of the case at hand; they must evaluate testimony, and weigh both its accuracy and its relevance; they must give a fair hearing to both sides, distinguish sound from erroneous arguments, and ultimately reach a just and reasonable conclusion.
The courtroom demands a high level of critical thinking skill, and it is also a fascinating place for studying the key elements of critical thinking: determining exactly what the conclusion is and who bears the burden of proving it; separating false claims from reliable information; and distinguishing between erroneous and compelling arguments. The skills that make you an effective juror will also make you an intelligent consumer, an effective planner, and a wise citizen.
Critical Thinking: Consider the Verdict, Fifth Edition uses the jury room as the focus for developing basic skills in critical thinking, but it does not stop there. Those skills are also applied to the various arguments and issues that arise in our daily lives as consumers, students, investors, planners, and citizens. Thus, while the courtroom provides the overall framework, most of the exercises and examples are drawn from advertisements, social debates, political campaigns, and editorials. Critical thinking skills are valuable in the jury room, but they are also valuable in the classroom, the boardroom, the laboratory, and the shopping mall.
This book provides a solid and substantial introduction to critical thinking, and Chapters 8 and 9 offer instruction in symbolic logic. Chapters 8 and 9 are se contained, and you may do either or both at any point. If you wish to concentrate on informal logic, you may skip Chapters 8 and 9 altogether. The boxed exercises and examples scattered throughout the text are not essential to understanding the chapters, but they do present some interesting material and challenging questions. You can skip them, but you'll miss a lot of the fun.