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How to Think About Weird Things: Critical Thinking for a New Age

ISBN-10: 0078038367
ISBN-13: 9780078038365
Edition: 7th 2013
List price: $73.50 Buy it from $53.56
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Description: This concise and engaging text teaches the basic principles of good reasoning through an examination of widely held beliefs about the paranormal, the supernatural, and the mysterious. By explaining what distinguishes knowledge from opinion, science  More...

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Book details

List price: $73.50
Edition: 7th
Copyright year: 2013
Publisher: McGraw-Hill College
Binding: Paperback
Size: 6.25" wide x 9.00" long x 0.50" tall
Weight: 0.990
Language: English

This concise and engaging text teaches the basic principles of good reasoning through an examination of widely held beliefs about the paranormal, the supernatural, and the mysterious. By explaining what distinguishes knowledge from opinion, science from pseudoscience, and evidence from hearsay,How to Think about Weird Thingshelps the reader develop the skills needed to tell the true from the false and the reasonable from the unreasonable.

Foreword
Preface
Introduction: Close Encounters with the Strange
The Importance of Why
Beyond Weird to the Absurd
A Weirdness Sampler
Notes
The Possibility of the Impossible
Paradigms and the Paranormal
Logical Possibility Versus Physical Impossibility
The Possibility of ESP
Theories and Things
On Knowing the Future
Summary
Study Questions
Evaluate These Claims
Discussion Questions
Field Problem
Critical Reading and Writing
Notes
Arguments Good, Bad, and Weird
Claims and Arguments
Deductive Arguments
Inductive Arguments
Enumerative Induction
Analogical Induction
Hypothetical Induction (Abduction, or Inference to the Best Explanation)
Informal Fallacies
Unacceptable Premises
Begging the Question
False Dilemma
Irrelevant Premises
Equivocation
Composition
Division
Appeal to the Person
Genetic Fallacy
Appeal to Authority
Appeal to the Masses
Appeal to Tradition
Appeal to Ignorance
Appeal to Fear
Straw Man
Insufficient Premises
Hasty Generalization
Faulty Analogy
False Cause
Slippery Slope
Statistical Fallacies
Misleading Averages
Missing Values
Hazy Comparisons
Summary
Study Questions
Evaluate These Claims
Discussion Questions
Field Problem
Critical Reading and Writing
Notes
Knowledge, Belief, and Evidence
Babylonian Knowledge-Acquisition Techniques
Propositional Knowledge
Reasons and Evidence
Expert Opinion
Coherence and Justification
Sources of Knowledge
The Appeal to Faith
The Appeal to Intuition
The Appeal to Mystical Experience
Astrology Revisited
Summary
Study Questions
Evaluate These Claims
Discussion Questions
Field Problem
Critical Reading and Writing
Notes
Looking for Truth in Personal Experience
Seeming and Being
Perceiving: Why You Can't Always Believe What you See
Perceptual Constancies
The Role of Expectation
Looking for Clarity in Vagueness
The Blondlot Case
"Constructing" UFOs
Remembering: Why You Cant Always Trust What You Recall
Conceiving: Why You Sometimes See What You Believe
Denying the Evidence
Subjective Validation
Confirmation Bias
The Availability Error
The Representativeness Heuristic
Anthropomorphic Bias
Against All Odds
Anecdotal Evidence: Why Testimonials Can't be Trusted
The Variable Nature of Illness
The Placebo Effect
Overlooked Causes
Scientific Evidence: Why Controlled Studies Can be Trusted
Summary
Study Questions
Evaluate These Claims
Discussion Questions
Field Problem
Critical Reading and Writing
Notes
Science and Its Pretenders
Science and Dogma
Science and Scientism
Scientific Methodology
Confirming and Refuting Hypotheses
Criteria of Adequacy
Testability
Fruitfulness
Scope
Simplicity
Conservatism
Creationism, Evolution, and Criteria of Adequacy
Scientific Creationism
Intelligent Design
Parapsychology
Summary
Study Questions
Evaluate These Claims
Discussion Questions
Field Problem
Critical Reading and Writing
Notes
Case Studies in the Extraordinary
The Search Formula
State the Claim
Examine the Evidence for the Claim
Consider Alternative Hypotheses
Rate, According to the Criteria of Adequacy, Each Hypothesis
Homeopathy
Intercessory Prayer
UFO Abductions
Communicating with the Dead
Near-Death Experiences
Ghosts
Conspiracy Theories
Climate Change
Summary
Study Questions
Evaluate These Claims
Field Problem
Critical Reading and Writing
Notes
Relativism, Truth, and Reality
We Each Create Our Own Reality
Reality is Socially Constructed
Reality is Constituted by Conceptual Schemes
The Relativist's Petard
Facing Reality
Summary
Study Questions
Evaluate These Claims
Discussion Questions
Field Problem
Critical Reading and Writing
Notes
Credits
Index

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