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The Power of Critical Thinking

Effective Reasoning about Ordinary and Extraordinary Claims

Seventh Edition

Lewis Vaughn

Publication Date - September 2021

ISBN: 9780197605370

640 pages
8 x 10 inches

In Stock

Provides the broadest range of tools to show students how critical thinking applies in their lives and the world around them.


The Power of Critical Thinking: Effective Reasoning About Ordinary and Extraordinary Claims, Seventh Edition, provides the broadest range of tools to show students how critical thinking applies in their lives and the world around them. It 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.

New to this Edition

  • An expanded and updated guide to thinking critically about the media.
  • In-depth coverage of how to apply critical thinking to advertising, both commercial and political.
  • A greatly expanded chapter on obstacles to critical thinking.
  • New material on important topics such as how to argue (or not argue) online, the backfire effect, the cognitive snares of social media, the power of reasonable skepticism, how to "read laterally" online, and how to use trustworthy fact-checkers.
  • New text boxes: "The Ethics of Sharing Fake News," "Can You Tell the Difference Between Fact and Opinion?" and "Racism Is Group Thinking at Its Worst-- But What Is It?"


  • Offers the clearest step-by-step explanations available
  • Provides students with a solid grounding in a wide range of critical thinking skills applicable to many kinds of claims, evidence, and arguments
  • Incorporates hundreds of diverse exercises--including Field Problems, Integrative Exercises, Self-Assessment Quizzes, and Essay Questions--presented progressively, from simple to complex and elementary to more advanced, with selected answers at the back of the book
  • Includes numerous photos with caption questions that encourage critical thinking
  • Covers the evaluation of evidence, authority, and credibility, showing students how to assess the evidence and claims offered by scientists and other experts, the news media, advertising, and everyday experience
  • Emphasizes writing throughout, with writing assignments in each chapter and an extensive appendix on argumentative writing that includes twenty-one essays for analysis

About the Author(s)

Lewis Vaughn is the author or coauthor of numerous books, including Philosophy: Here and Now, Fourth Edition (2022), Bioethics, Fourth Edition (2020), The Power of Critical Thinking, Sixth Edition (2019), and Living Philosophy, Third Edition (2021), all published by Oxford University Press.

Table of Contents

    1. The Power of Critical Thinking
    2. Obstacles to Critical Thinking
    3. Making Sense of Arguments
    4. Reasons for Belief and Doubt
    5. Media Manipulation: Fake News, Bias, and Advertising
    6. Fallacies and Persuaders
    7. Deductive Reasoning: Propositional Logic
    8. Deductive Reasoning: Categorical Logic
    9. Inductive Reasoning
    10. Inference to the Best Explanation
    11. Judging Scientific Theories
    12. Critical Thinking in Morality and the Law
    Appendix A: The Truth About Philosophy Majors
    Appendix B: Essays for Evaluation
    Appendix C. Answers to Exercises
    Appendix D. Answers to Self-Assessment Quizzes
    Appendix E. Critical Thinking and Writing