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How to Think About Weird Things: Critical Thinking for a New Age / Edition 6

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More About This Textbook

Overview

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.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780073535777
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Higher Education
  • Publication date: 2/3/2010
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 6
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

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. Arguments Good, Bad and Weird

Claim 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 4. 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 5. 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 6. 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 7. 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

Intercessory Prayer

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

Chapter 8. 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 9. 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

Single Studies

Conflicting Results

Studies Conflicting with Fact

Limitations of Studies

Types of Studies

In Vitro Experiments

Animal Studies

Observational Studies

Clinical Trials

Study Questions

Evaluate These Claims

Discussion Questions

Field Problem

Critical Reading and Writing

Suggested Readings

Notes

Credits

Index
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