Critical Thinking: A Concise Guide

Critical Thinking: A Concise Guide

by Tracey Bowell, Gary Kemp


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Critical Thinking: A Concise Guide by Tracey Bowell, Gary Kemp

Attempts to persuade us -- to believe something, to do something, to buy something -- are everywhere. What is less clear is how to think critically about such attempts and how to distinguish those that are sound arguments. Critical Thinking: A Concise Guide is a much-needed guide to argument analysis and a clear introduction to thinking clearly and rationally for oneself. Through clear and accessible discussion, this book equips students with the essential skills required to tell a good argument from a bad one.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780415240161
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Publication date: 12/28/2001
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 6.75(w) x 9.75(h) x (d)

About the Author

Tracy Bowell is Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Waikato, New Zealand.

Gary Kemp is Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Glasgow, UK.

Table of Contents

Introduction and previewix
Chapter 1Why should we become critical thinkers?1
Beginning to think critically: recognising arguments
Identifying conclusions and premises
Intermediate conclusions
Linguistic phenomena
Chapter 2Logic: deductive validity42
The Principle of Charity
Deductive validity
Conditional propositions
Deductive soundness
Chapter 3Logic: inductive force69
Inductive force
'All', 'most' and 'some'
Inductive soundness
Probability in the premises
Arguments with multiple probabilistic premises
Inductive force in extended arguments
Conditional probability in the conclusion
Inductive inferences
A programme for assessment
Chapter 4Rhetorical ploys and fallacies99
Rhetorical ploys
Formal fallacies
Substantive fallacies
Further fallacies
Chapter 5The practice of argument reconstruction155
Extraneous material
Implicit and explicit
Connecting premises
Covering generalisations
Ambiguity and vagueness
More on generalisations
Practical reasoning
Balancing costs, benefits and probabilities
Explanations as conclusions
Causal generalisations
A shortcut
Chapter 6Issues in argument assessment206
Rational persuasiveness
Some strategies for logical assessment
Refutation by counter-example
Engaging with the argument: avoiding the 'Who is to say?' criticism
Argument commentary
Argument trees
Chapter 7Truth, knowledge and belief237
Truth and relativity
True for me, true for you
Truth, value and morality
Belief, justification and truth
Justification failure
Knowledge and rational persuasiveness
Gettier cases

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