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Reasons, Explanations, and Decisions Guidelines for Critical Thinking

ISBN-10: 0534574114
ISBN-13: 9780534574116
Edition: 2000
Authors: Thomas J. McKay
List price: $155.95
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Description: The concepts for each chapter work together to achieve the goal of aiding students to develop their evaluation abilities and to consider their beliefs in a mature and intelligent way. Students will learn to look closely at the kinds of reasons that  More...

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Book details

List price: $155.95
Copyright year: 2000
Publisher: Wadsworth
Publication date: 11/29/1999
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 300
Size: 6.50" wide x 9.25" long x 0.50" tall
Weight: 0.880
Language: English

The concepts for each chapter work together to achieve the goal of aiding students to develop their evaluation abilities and to consider their beliefs in a mature and intelligent way. Students will learn to look closely at the kinds of reasons that can be given for beliefs, think hard about how to evaluate reasoning, and develop the skill of effectively presenting that evaluation to others. Throughout the book, numerous examples and exercises work to strengthen student's critical and expository abilities.

Preface
Introduction
Justification
"Critical Thinking"
Reasons, Arguments, and Logic
Recognizing Arguments in Ordinary Language
More on Identifying Arguments
Maintaining Coherent Belief
Validity and Soundness
Considering the Possibilities
Inductive Strength
Constructing and Analyzing Arguments
Identify the Conclusion and the Premises
Fill in Connecting Premises
More on Validity
Some Patterns That Will Not Validate an Argument
Clarify
Evaluate the Premises
Construction and Analysis: Examples
Some Examples of Argument Analysis
Arguing for a Should Conclusion
Some Related Patterns
Arguing for a Should Conclusion: Points to Cover
Ties: A Slight Complication
The Relationship of This to Formal Validity
Examples
Uncertainty (A Big Complication)
Evaluative Terms
Chapter Summary
An Extended Example
Address to the Nation Announcing Allied Military Action in the Persian Gulf
Matters of Meaning
Words, Context, Meaning, and Reference
Vagueness
Ambiguity
Lexical Ambiguity
Syntactic Ambiguity
Contextual Ambiguity
Ambiguity in Argument
How to Point Out an Equivocation
Summary of Important Concepts
Kinds of Unclarity
Equivocation
Connotation and Suggestion
Euphemism
Connotation in Place of Content
Overblown Jargon
"Loaded" Verbs
Context and Emphasis
Writing and Speaking
Gender Bias
Example
Informal Fallacies
Unwarranted Assumptions
False Dilemma (Black-and-White Thinking)
False of Misleading Presuppositions
Straw Man
Slippery Slope
Inconsistency
Begging the Question (and Circular Argument)
Irrelevant Appeals
Argument Forms That Are Not Validating
Appeal to Irrelevant Authority
Ad hominem Argument (Attacking the Person)
Appeal to Force
Appeal to Pity
Argument from Ignorance (ad ignorantiam)
(Beside the Point) Ignoration elenchi
Chapter Summary
Analogy
Descriptive (Non-Argumentative) Uses of Analogy
Arguments Employing Analogy
Ideal Use of Analogy
Design Argument
Inductive Model
Less Articulate Uses of Analogy
Usual (Even Less Articulate) Uses of Analogy
Criticisms of Arguments Based on Analogies
Analogy in Law
Analogy in Logic (Refutation by Analogy)
Chapter Summary
Understanding and Explanation
Why
How and Why
Because
Explanans and Explanandum
Kinds of Explanations: A Deeper Look
Explanations Involving General Claims
Causal Explanations
Teleological Explanations
Chapter Summary
Evaluating Explanations
Inference to the Best Explanation
A Mystery
Explanatory Theories
Finding the Best Explanation
Justifying New Explanatory Theories
Evaluating Theories
Content
Scope
Theoretical Integration
The Theory Should Be Unfalsified
Alternatives Should Be Ruled Out
Criticism of an Inference to the Best Explanation
The Copernican Revolution
Background
Elements of the Pre-Copernican Consensus
Copernicus
Galileo
Chapter Summary
Generalization and Causal Inference
Arguments That Generalize
Criticizing Arguments That Generalize
Arguments with Causal Conclusions
Criticizing Arguments With Casual Conclusions
Some Things to Look at when Evaluating Statistical Information
Correlation of Broad Trends
Compared to What?
Regression to the Mean
Consider the Dropout Rate
Visibility
Simpson's Paradox
Consider the Right Statistic
Make Sure That the Quality of Statistics Compared Is Uniform
Averages Hide a Lot of Information
Chapter Summary
Testing Causal Explanations
Comparing Predictions of Theories
Causes and Correlations
Fully Controlled Experiments
Problems with Controlled Experiments
Less Than Ideal: Statistical Studies
Problems with Statistical Studies
Chapter Summary
Decision Making
Framing the Decision Problem
Decisions with Known Outcomes
Satisficing
Elimination by Aspects
Multi-attribute Utility Theory
Summary: Decisions with Known Outcomes
Decisions with Uncertainty About the Outcome
Eliminate Unsatisfactory Choices
Eliminate Dominated Actions, if There Are Any
Maximin and Maximax
The Expected Utility Method
Summary: Decisions with Uncertain Outcomes
Decision Making: Some Special Issues
Creativity and Social Conformity
Money and Value
Game Theory
Chapter Summary
Some Special Cases of Validity
The Conclusion Is a Premise
The Conclusion Is a Logical Truth
The Premises Are an Inconsistent Set of Statements

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