Uses and Abuses of Argument: Critical Thinking and Fallacious Reasoning

Uses and Abuses of Argument: Critical Thinking and Fallacious Reasoning

by Stephen S. Carey

Paperback

$63.75

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780767405171
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Companies, The
Publication date: 08/06/1999
Pages: 292
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 0.50(d)

Table of Contents

Prefaceiii
Part ICritical Thinking
1Introduction to Critical Thinking1
What Does Critical Thinking Involve?1
Argument3
Where Do Arguments Occur?4
Arguments and Explanations6
Why Bother to Put Arguments in Standard Form?8
Deciding What the Argument Is8
Contemplating Alternative Readings9
Uncovering Arguments Strengths and Weaknesses9
Fallacies10
Why Study Fallacies?11
Understanding Good Reasoning12
Detecting Fallacies that Mimic Good Reasoning12
Avoiding Attractive but Unwarranted Inferences12
The Mass Media13
How the Mass Media Shape Our World View13
Mass Media and the News14
Advertising16
Thinking Critically About the Mass Media17
Adopting a Critical Point of View17
Chapter Summary19
Exercises20
Solutions24
2Claims25
Claim Making25
Descriptive and Value-Laden Claims27
Clarity28
Impediments to Clarity29
Ambiguity30
Semantic Ambiguity31
Referential Ambiguity31
Grammatical Ambiguity32
Vagueness34
Overused Words and Phrases35
Jargon and Technical Terms36
Terms Used to Make Comparisons37
Qualifying Phrases38
Media Watch: The Language of Advertising39
Pseudo-claims40
Pseudo-differentiation42
Clearing Things Up: Defining Terms42
Methods of Definition44
The Use of Examples44
Synonymous Definition44
Analytic Definition45
Constructing Acceptable Definitions46
Bias and Persuasive Definition48
Chapter Summary49
Exercises50
Solutions55
3Assessing Arguments57
When Is an Argument Acceptable?57
Assessing Premises59
Assessing Inferential Strength: The Main Method62
Inferential Strength62
How to Test an Inference64
Completeness66
Thinking About Broad, Underlying Assumptions66
Assessing Inferential Strength: An Alternative Method68
Deduction and Induction71
Strong and Weak Refutation76
Chapter Summary78
Exercises78
Solutions81
4Welcome to the Real World: Arguments in Context82
Recognizing Arguments--Telltale Signs82
Premise and Conclusion Indicators82
Qualifiers83
Context84
Controversy84
Tone of Voice84
Paraphrasing Arguments85
Thinking About Support87
Understanding Point of View87
Understanding Anecdotes89
Coping with Poorly Constructed Arguments89
Complicating Factors91
Counterarguments91
Complex Argument92
Independent Arguments and Arguments with Independent Premises93
Chapter Summary95
Exercises96
Solutions102
Part IIFallacies
5Relevance103
A Note of Caution103
Classifying Fallacies104
Types of Relevance104
A Test for Relevance105
Fallacies of Relevance106
The Genetic Fallacy106
Personal Attacks108
Lack of Expertise or Experience108
Point of View109
Vested Interests109
Inconsistency110
Nonfallacious Uses of Personal Information113
Appeals to Authority114
Misplaced Expertise116
Celebrity117
Sheer Numbers117
Reference to Unspecified Expertise117
Tradition117
Appeals to Ignorance119
Chapter Summary123
Exercises124
Solutions130
6Distortion131
Distortions of Fact131
Omitting Information131
Oversimplification132
Lack of Perspective134
Innuendo136
Anecdotal Evidence137
False Precision138
Misleading Qualifiers139
False Dichotomy139
Slippery Slope142
Distortions of the Views of Others143
Straw Man (Person!)143
Combined Straw Man and False Dichotomy146
Media Watch: Distortion in the Coverage of the News147
News Sources147
What Makes a Story Newsworthy?148
Hard News149
Reading Between the Lines, Seeing Between the Pixels156
Ownership of the Mass Media156
The Influence of Advertisers157
Manipulation by External Sources158
Chapter Summary158
Exercises160
Solutions168
7Ambiguity and Redundancy170
Equivocation170
Collective and Distributive Properties172
Division173
Composition176
Hypostatization177
Circular Reasoning178
Synonymous Descriptions179
Circular Explanations179
Begging the Question180
Question-Begging Epithets182
Non-Question-Begging Arguments183
Chapter Summary185
Exercises186
Solutions192
8Analogy193
Arguments by Analogy193
Assessing Arguments by Analogy195
Looking for Dissimilarities196
Looking for Problematic Similarities196
Analogical Refutations198
The Uses of Analogy199
Clarity and Simplicity199
Case-by-Case Analysis200
Problem Solving202
Working Through Arguments by Analogy202
Determine What Is at Issue202
Determine Whether the Argument Depends on the Analogy204
Look for Important Points of Dissimilarity205
Chapter Summary206
Exercises207
Solutions212
9Generalizations and Causes213
Generalizations213
Sampling Arguments214
Requirements for a Reliable Sampling Argument215
The Sample Must Be Sufficiently Large215
The Sample Must Be Representative218
The Techniques Used to Elicit Information Must Be Unbiased219
Fallacies Involving Generalizations219
Hasty Generalization220
Stereotypical Thinking221
Special Case222
Reasoning About Causes223
Testing for Causal Links223
Imposing Controls224
Assessing the Results225
Types of Causal Experiments226
Randomized Causal Experiments226
Prospective Causal Studies227
Retrospective Causal Studies227
Advantages and Disadvantages227
Causal Fallacies228
Inference from a Correlation to a Causal Link228
Inference Based on Temporal Succession231
Failure to Impose Controls231
Media Watch: Science in the News232
Chapter Summary239
Exercises241
Solutions249
10Reason, Rhetoric, and Emotion: the Fine Art of Manipulation251
Emotion and Reason252
Emotional Manipulation253
Appeals to Fear255
Appeals to Vanity256
Appeals to Pity, Sympathy, and Compassion256
Reason and Rhetoric258
Rhetorical Manipulation258
Establishing Common Interests259
Establishing Credibility261
Undercutting the Credibility of an Opponent262
Irrelevant Thesis264
Logical Self-Defense266
Media Watch: Advertising267
Irrelevance269
Distortion269
Manipulation270
Political Advertising272
Chapter Summary274
Exercises275
Solutions281
Index/Glossary283

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