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THE ELEMENTS OF REASONING is a concise and lucid introduction to the basic elements of argumentative prose and the conceptual tools necessary to understand, analyze, criticize, and construct arguments. This text is not only perfect for a college course in argument analysis, but also as a reference tool when confronted with arguments outside the classroom experience. While THE ELEMENTS OF REASONING covers the standard formal tools of introductory logic, its emphasis is on practical applications to the kinds of arguments students most often encounter.
"I would adopt this textbook in a heartbeat for a class on critical thinking. I am impressed with how much is accomplished in a slim volume. The clarity of writing is one of the great strengths of this text."— Elizabeth Meade , Cedar Crest College
"As a foundational guide to reasoning, Munson and Black's effort in this edition is commendable - well organized, filled with timely examples, and weighted with the clearest and most substantive content that I have seen in such a textbook."— Jason Black , University of Alabama
Ronald Munson is Professor of Philosophy of Science and Medicine at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. He received his PhD from Columbia University and was Postdoctoral Fellow in Biology at Harvard University. He has been a visiting professor at University of California, San Diego, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and Harvard Medical School. A nationally acclaimed bioethicist, Munson is a medical ethicist for the National Eye Institute and a consultant for the National Cancer Institute. He is also a member of the Washington University School of Medicine Human Studies Committee. In addition to being the author of a number of science and ethics books, he is also the author of the novels NOTHING HUMAN, FAN MAIL, and NIGHT VISION.
Andrew Black has been teaching in the Philosophy Department since fall 1999. Before coming to UMSL, he taught for eight years at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, and for one year at Dartmouth College. He holds the Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Dr. Black specializes in the history of philosophy, particularly the philosophy of the seventeenth century. He has published articles on Descartes, Malebranche, and Leibniz. Other areas of Dr. Black's expertise include analytic philosophy, logic, and the philosophy of science.
Preface. Briefing. Basic Assumptions. Organization. Using This Book. 1. RECOGNIZING ARGUMENTS. What Is an Argument? Three General Considerations. Recognizing Arguments. Multiple Conclusions and Complex Arguments. Exercises. 2. ANALYZING ARGUMENTS. Showing the Structure of Arguments. Strategies of Analysis. Two Special Problems. Analyzing a Complex Argument: An Example. Exercises. 3. EVALUATING ARGUMENTS. Deductive Arguments. Exercises. Nondeductive Arguments. Complex Arguments. Exercises. Overall Argument Evaluation. Exercises. 4. SOME VALID ARGUMENT FORMS. Sentential Form. Exercises. Valid Argument Forms. Two Invalid Argument Forms. Exercises. Using the Forms to Show Validity. Exercises. Conditionals. Equivalent Forms. Exercises. Using Inference and Equivalence Rules. Deductive Proof Strategies. Exercises. 5. MORE VALID ARGUMENT FORMS: CATEGORICAL REASONING AND VENN DIAGRAMS. Categorical Statements. Exercises. Categorical Syllogisms. Exercises. 6. CAUSAL ANALYSIS. Basic Causal Relationships. Contributing Factors as "Causes." Causal Explanations. Testing Causal Claims. Experimental Trials. Exercises. 7. ARGUMENT BY ANALOGY AND MODELS. Analogical Arguments. Models. Evaluating Analogical Reasoning. Exercises. 8. ERRORS IN REASONING: FALLACIES. Fallacies in Supporting a Claim. Fallacies of Criticism and Response. Exercises. 9. DEFINITION. Definition of "Definition." Two Types of Definition. Methods of Definition. Standards of Definition. Working Out a Definition. Exercises. 10. VAGUENESS AND AMBIGUITY. Vagueness. Ambiguity. Exercises. 11. REASONABLE BELIEFS. Granted Claims and Acceptable Beliefs. New Claims, Background Beliefs, and Rationality. Exercises. 12. RULES FOR WRITING. Structure. Style. Exercises: Some Answers, Hints, and Comments. Index.