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Cover

The Power of Critical Thinking

Effective Reasoning About Ordinary and Extraordinary Claims

Fourth Edition

Lewis Vaughn

Publication Date - August 2012

ISBN: 9780199856671

624 pages
Paperback
8 x 10 inches

In Stock

Retail Price to Students: $86.95

The broadest range of tools for today's critical thinkers. Students will see how critical thinking applies in any arena--from everyday life to academia and from science to the media

Description

The Power of Critical Thinking: Effective Reasoning About Ordinary and Extraordinary Claims explores the essentials of critical reasoning, argumentation, logic, and argumentative essay writing while also incorporating important topics that most other texts leave out, such as "inference to the best explanation," scientific reasoning, evidence and authority, visual reasoning, and obstacles to critical thinking.

The text integrates many pedagogical features, including hundreds of diverse exercises, examples, and illustrations; text boxes that apply critical thinking to student experience; step-by-step guidelines for evaluating claims, arguments, and explanations; a glossary of important terms; and many reminders, summaries, and review notes.


SUPPORT PACKAGE:

The text is supplemented by an Instructor's Manual and Test Bank in print and an Instructor's Manual with Computerized Test Bank on CD. The Computerized Test Bank is a completely customizable bank of questions to aid in the creation of exams and quizzes. Both versions of the Instructor's Manual feature notes on using the text effectively, sample syllabi, links to websites of interest, lectures in PowerPoint format, chapter summaries, and answers to the exercises in the text.

A Companion Website at www.oup.com/us/criticalthinking includes all of the information found in the Instructor's Manual. It also offers a student study guide featuring a summary of the main points of each chapter, study questions, short review quizzes, flashcards, web links, and additional chapter exercises.

Course Cartridges for a variety of e-learning environments allow instructors to create their own course websites with the interactive material from the instructor and student companion websites.

New to this Edition

  • New sections on topics suggested by reviewers - The coverage now includes more discussion of legal reasoning, rhetorical ploys, informal fallacies, probability and statistics, and necessary and sufficient conditions.
  • New Essays for Analysis - Nine essays, several of them by women authors, have been added to the collection of "Essays for Evaluation" in Appendix A (the total remains at twenty-one), each article accompanied by writing prompts and linked to writing assignments in every chapter. Four pairs of essays are arranged in a pro/con format, each pair debating a single issue. New topics include homosexuality, feminists and pornography, adultery, airport security screenings, women in Afghanistan, Islamic extremists and free speech, and fear of vaccines.
  • New text boxes on current topics. The division of labor for the text boxes is the same, but some of the content is new. The three types of boxes are "Newsmakers" (discussions of current events and issues in the media illustrating a principle of critical thinking, ending with questions meant to encourage critical thought); "From the Web" (boxes concentrating on a lesson about critical thinking but drawing their material from websites and blogs); and "Further Thought" (informative boxes, designed to cover interesting supplementary material not discussed in the main text).
  • The chapter objectives now correspond to the point-by-point summary at the end of each chapter.
  • Important Clarifications - The following discussions are now even clearer: scientific conservatism in theory choice, the relationship between enumerative induction and statistical syllogisms, and informal fallacies (the latter are given further treatment in an explanatory fallacies chart on the inside front cover).
  • Some new discussions: the straw man fallacy, biased opinion polls, dishonest political discourse, and gut reactions and intuitions.

About the Author(s)

Lewis Vaughn is the author or coauthor of several books, including Philosophy Here and Now: Powerful Ideas in Everyday Life (2012), Contemporary Moral Arguments, Second Edition (2012), Great Philosophical Arguments (2011), Philosophy: The Quest for Truth, Eighth Edition (2011), and The Moral Life, Fourth Edition (2010), all published by Oxford University Press.

Previous Publication Date(s)

October 2009
January 2007
December 2004

Reviews

"The Power of Critical Thinking is unique with its diverse collection of exercises--including field problems, writing exercises, and quizzes--which facilitate students' digestion of the material. I love the design. Both the photos and the art are helpful."--Stephen K. Ma, California State University, Los Angeles

"This book is very successful in its presentation of inference to the best explanation. It also does an excellent job of teaching writing skills along with critical-thinking skills. I highly recommend this text for its engaging writing style, clear layout, and variety of possible in-class and online exercises and assignments."--Carol McGury, DePaul University

"This is a very good text that covers the material clearly. So far this is the best such text I've seen."--Joseph Monast, Modesto Junior College

"Most importantly, this book provides well-organized skill-building exercises and resources that are essential to any critical-thinking class."--Marlisa Moschella, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Table of Contents

    *=New to this Edition
    Preface
    PART 1. BASICS
    1. The Power of Critical Thinking
    Why It Matters
    How It Works
    Claims and Reasons
    Reasons and Arguments
    Arguments in the Rough
    Key Words
    Summary
    Exercises
    Field Problems
    Self-Assessment Quiz
    Writing Assignments
    2. Obstacles to Critical Thinking
    Psychological Obstacles
    The Almighty Self
    The Power of the Group
    Philosophical Obstacles
    Subjective Relativism
    Social Relativism
    Skepticism
    Key Words
    Summary
    Exercises
    Field Problems
    Self-Assessment Quiz
    Integrative Exercises
    Writing Assignments
    3. Making Sense of Arguments
    Argument Basics
    Judging Arguments
    Finding Missing Parts
    Argument Patterns
    Diagramming Arguments
    Assessing Long Arguments
    Key Words
    Summary
    Field Problems
    Self-Assessment Quiz
    Integrative Exercises
    Writing Assignments
    PART 2. REASONS
    4. Reasons for Belief and Doubt
    When Claims Conflict
    Experts and Evidence
    Personal Experience
    Impairment
    Expectation
    Innumeracy and Probability
    Fooling Ourselves
    Resisting Contrary Evidence
    Looking for Confirming Evidence
    Preferring Available Evidence
    Claims in the News
    Inside the News
    Sorting Out the News
    Advertising and Persuasion
    Identification
    Slogans
    Misleading Comparisons
    Weasel Words
    Key Words
    Summary
    Exercises
    Field Problems
    Self-Assessment Quiz
    Integrative Exercises
    Writing Assignments
    5. Fallacies and Persuaders
    Fallacies: Irrelevant Premises
    Genetic Fallacy
    Composition
    Division
    Appeal to the Person
    Equivocation
    Appeal to Popularity
    Appeal to Tradition
    Appeal to Ignorance
    Appeal to Emotion
    Red Herring
    Straw Man
    * Two Wrongs Make a Right
    Fallacies: Unacceptable Premises
    Begging the Question
    False Dilemma
    * Decision-Point Fallacy
    Slippery Slope
    Hasty Generalization
    Faulty Analogy
    * Persuaders: Rhetorical Moves
    * Innuendo
    * Euphemisms and Dysphemisms
    * Stereotyping
    * Ridicule
    * Rhetorical Definitions
    Key Words
    Summary
    Exercises
    Field Problems
    Self-Assessment Quiz
    Integrative Exercises
    Writing Assignments
    PART 3. ARGUMENTS
    6. Deductive Reasoning: Propositional Logic
    Connectives and Truth Values
    Conjunction
    Disjunction
    Negation
    Conditional
    Checking for Validity
    Simple Arguments
    Tricky Arguments
    Streamlined Evaluation
    Key Words
    Summary
    Field Problems
    Self-Assessment Quiz
    Integrative Exercises
    Writing Assignments
    7. Deductive Reasoning: Categorical Logic
    Statements and Classes
    Translations and Standard Form
    Terms
    Quantifiers
    Diagramming Categorical Statements
    Sizing Up Categorical Syllogisms
    Key Words
    Summary
    Field Problems
    Self-Assessment Quiz
    Integrative Exercises
    Writing Assignments
    8. Inductive Reasoning
    Enumerative Induction
    Sample Size
    Representativeness
    Opinion Polls
    Analogical Induction
    Causal Arguments
    Testing for Causes
    Causal Confusions
    Necessary and Sufficient Conditions
    Key Words
    Summary
    Field Problems
    Self-Assessment Quiz
    Integrative Exercises
    Writing Assignments
    PART 4. EXPLANATIONS
    9. Inference to the Best Explanation
    Explanations and Inference
    Theories and Consistency
    Theories and Criteria
    Testability
    Fruitfulness
    Scope
    Simplicity
    Conservatism
    Telling Good Theories from Bad
    A Doomed Flight
    An Amazing Cure
    Key Words
    Summary
    Field Problems
    Self-Assessment Quiz
    Integrative Exercises
    Writing Assignments
    10. Judging Scientific Theories
    Science and Not Science
    The Scientific Method
    Testing Scientific Theories
    Judging Scientific Theories
    Copernicus Versus Ptolemy
    Evolution Versus Creationism
    Science and Weird Theories
    Making Weird Mistakes
    Leaping to the Weirdest Theory
    Mixing What Seems with What Is
    Misunderstanding the Possibilities
    Judging Weird Theories
    Crop Circles
    Talking with the Dead
    Summary
    Field Problems
    Self-Assessment Quiz
    Integrative Exercises
    Writing Assignments
    11. Critical Thinking in Morality and the Law
    Moral Arguments
    Moral Premises
    Moral Theories
    Evaluating Moral Theories
    Two Important Theories
    * Legal Reasoning
    A Coherent Worldview
    Key Words
    Summary
    Exercises
    Field Problems
    Self-Assessment Quiz
    Integrative Exercises
    Writing Assignments
    Appendix A: Essays for Evaluation
    1. "Death Penalty Discriminates Against Black Crime Victims," USA Today
    2. "Marine Parks," Bill Daly
    * 3. "A Feminist Defense of Pornography," Wendy McElroy
    * 4. "A Defense of Homosexuality," John Corvino
    5. "More Innocents Die When We Don't Have Capital Punishment," Dennis Prager
    * 6. "What's Wrong with Adultery?" Bonnie Steinbock
    * 7. "A Pat-Down Is Better than a Blow-Up," Caroline Baum
    8. "The Cohabitation Epidemic," Neil Clark Warren
    * 9. "Not Being Vaccinated Is Not Acceptable," David Ropeik
    * 10. "Women and the Afghanistan Peace Process," Ann Jones
    11. "A Deviance from God's Norm," Richard Land
    12. "Marriage Still Evolving, as Ever," Buffalo News
    13. "Slouching Toward Chimeras," Jeremy Rifkin
    * 14. "Fighting Islamic Extremists Who Stifle Free Speech," Ayaan Hirsi and Daniel Huff
    * 15. "Is Sluttishness a Feminist Statement?" Wendy Kaminer
    16. "Torture: Time for Congress to End the Debate," USA Today
    17. "Torture: Severe Interrogations Work," Trent Franks
    18. "Freedom of Expression: Protect Student Speech--Even 'Unwise' Bong Banner," USA Today
    19. "Freedom of Expression: Policy Reflects Common Sense," Kenneth W. Starr
    * 20. "It's Irresponsible to Spread Fear of Vaccine," USA Today
    21. "Flag Amendment: Flag Needs Protection," Dianne Feinstein
    Appendix B: Answers to Exercises
    Appendix C: Answers to Self-Assessment Quizzes
    Appendix D: Critical Thinking and Writing
    Notes
    Glossary
    Credits
    Index

Teaching Resources

  • The text is supplemented by an Instructor's Manual and Test Bank in print and an Instructor's Manual with Computerized Test Bank on CD-R. The Computerized Test Bank is a completely customizable bank of questions to aid in the creation of exams and quizzes. Both versions of the Instructor's Manual feature notes on using the text effectively, sample syllabi, links to websites of interest, lectures in PowerPoint format, chapter summaries, and answers to the exercises in the text.
  • Companion Website at www.oup.com/us/criticalthinking includes all of the information found in the Instructor's Manual. It also offers a student study guide featuring a summary of the main points of each chapter, study questions, short review quizzes, flashcards, web links, and additional chapter exercises.
  • Course Cartridges for a variety of e-learning environments allow instructors to create their own course websites with the interactive material from the instructor and student companion websites.