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Cover

The Voice of Reason

Fundamentals of Critical Thinking

Burton F. Porter

Publication Date - August 2001

ISBN: 9780195141221

384 pages
Paperback
6-1/2 x 9-1/4 inches

In Stock

Retail Price to Students: $82.95

Description

Lively, comprehensive, and contemporary, The Voice of Reason: Fundamentals of Critical Thinking covers three principal areas: thought and language, systematic reasoning, and modes of proof. It employs highly accessible explanations and a multitude of examples drawn from social issues and various academic fields, showing students and other readers how to construct and criticize arguments using the techniques of sound reasoning.
The Voice of Reason examines the traditional elements of the field and also explores new ground. The first section of the book elucidates the relationship between thought and language, explaining how words function. It discusses meaning, connotation, vagueness, ambiguity, and definition, identifying the linguistic elements that can produce mistakes in thinking. The next section describes the rules of systematic reasoning, examining such topics as truth, relevance, and adequacy; deductive logic (categorical, hypothetical, and disjunctive); and induction (cause and effect, analogy, generalization, and hypothesis). Sixteen fallacies in thinking are also described through extensive illustrations and applications. The final section of the book offers a unique study of what constitutes proof in several different areas--including politics, advertising, law, and social issues--as well as in the academic disciplines of literature, science, history, and ethics. The author describes the various rules of evidence, using essays by major figures in each field as examples.
An ideal text for courses in critical thinking, informal logic, and reasoning and writing, The Voice of Reason offers numerous pedagogical features including a host of examples; assignments, exercises, and puzzles at both the halfway point and at the end of each chapter; cartoons and quotations throughout; and practical applications of theoretical concepts. An extensive Instructor's Manual contains answers to the exercises that appear throughout the text.

Table of Contents

    Analytic Table of Contents
    Preface
    1. CRITICAL THINKING
    By Force of Argument
    Avoiding Self-Contradiction
    Assignments, Exercises, Puzzles
    How Words Have Meaning
    Using Terms and Mentioning Them
    Assignments, Exercises, Puzzles
    PART I. THOUGHT AND LANGUAGE
    2. THE WAY WORDS WORK
    The Basic Ingredients: Intension and Extension
    The Connotation of Words
    Assignments, Exercises, Puzzles
    Vagueness--Seeing Dimly
    Ambiguity--Seeing Double
    Assignments, Exercises, Puzzles
    3. LANGUAGE AND DEFINITION
    Types of Definitions: Stipulative and Reportive
    Synonym and Example Definitions
    Applications
    Assignments, Exercises, Puzzles
    Avoiding Definition Mistakes
    Applications
    Assignments, Exercises, Puzzles
    PART II. SYSTEMATIC REASONING
    4. DISAGREEMENTS, CLAIMS, AND REASONS
    Types of Disagreements: Factual and Verbal
    Interpretive and Evaluative Disagreements
    Applications
    Assignments, Exercises, Puzzles
    Reasoning Things Out: Truth and Relevance in Arguments
    Adequate Proof and Alternative Possibilities
    Summary
    Applications
    Assignments, Exercises, Puzzles
    5. COMMON MISTAKES IN THINKING
    Argument to the Person and from Authority
    Threat of Force and Appeal to Pity
    Applications
    Assignments, Exercises, Puzzles
    Straw Person and Poisoning the Well
    The Slippery Slope and the Gambler's Fallacy
    Applications
    Assignments, Exercises, Puzzles
    6. MORE SUBTLE ERRORS OF THOUGHT
    The Fallacy of Sweeping Generalization and Hasty Generalization
    Begging the Question and Complex Question
    Applications
    Assignments, Exercises, Puzzles
    The Argument From Ignorance and to the Masses
    False Cause and Irrelevant Conclusion
    Applications
    Assignments, Exercises, Puzzles
    7. REASONING IN A FORMAL WAY
    The Structure of Arguments: Conclusions and Premises (Claims and Warrants)
    Paraphrasing Statements and Seeing Implications
    Assignments, Exercises, Puzzles
    Syllogisms and Enthymemes
    Validity and Truth
    Assignments, Exercises, Puzzles
    8. PATTERNS OF DEDUCTIVE THINKING
    Using Categorical Arguments
    Applications
    Assignments, Exercises, Puzzles
    Hypotheticals: The If/Then Form
    Applications
    Assignments, Exercises, Puzzles
    Disjunctives: Either/Or Alternatives
    Applications
    Assignments, Exercises, Puzzles
    9. INDUCTIVE THINKING: IDENTIFYING CAUSES, DRAWING ANALOGIES
    Causation: The Consequent and The Subsequent
    Establishing Causal Connections
    Summary
    Applications
    Assignments, Exercises, Puzzles
    Similes, Metaphors, and Analogies
    Using Analogical Arguments Effectively
    Summary
    Applications
    Assignments, Exercises, Puzzles
    10. DERIVING GENERALIZATIONS, FORMING HYPOTHESES
    Generalizing and Describing
    Using a Fair Sample
    Applications
    Assignments, Exercises, Puzzles
    The Explanatory Hypothesis
    Developing an Adequate Hypotheses
    Summary
    Applications
    Assignments, Exercises, Puzzles
    PART III. MODES OF PROOF
    11. DISCOURSE COMMUNITIES
    The Rhetoric of Politicians
    "Keynote Address, Democratic National Convention, 1984," Mario Cuomo
    Persuasion in Advertising
    "Ogilvy on Advertising," David Ogilvy
    The Legal Case
    "Gregg V. Georgia," Supreme Court
    Debates About Social Issues
    "Pornography, Obscenity, & the Case for Censorship," Irving Kristol
    Assignments, Exercises, Puzzles
    12. ARGUMENTS IN THE DISCIPLINES
    Literary Explication
    "Robert Frost: The Way to the Poem," John Ciardi
    Scientific Verification
    "Molecular Structure of Nucleic Acids," J.D. Watson and F.H.C. Crick
    "Can We Know the Universe? Reflections on a Grain of Sand," Carl Sagan
    Historical Explanation
    "The Causes of the Great Crash," John Kenneth Galbraith
    Ethical Justification
    "A Defense of Abortion," Judith Jarvis Thomson
    Assignments, Exercises, Puzzles
    APPENDIX
    Classifying: Genus and Differentia
    Analytic and Synthetic Sentences
    Partial Solution Guide to Assignments, Exercises, Puzzles
    Index