An Introduction to Reasoning Well
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Good science relies on solid arguments. In Critical Thinking, Jamie Carlin Watson and Robert Arp provide an introduction to logic and critical reasoning, covering everything from deduction and induction to the recognition of fallacies.
The authors divide the book into several parts. The first covers basic tools of reasoning and evaluating arguments. As we learn, types of evidence include what our senses appear to tell us about the external world; mathematical entailment; the experimental results mediated by scientific instruments; and memory. The book’s second part covers deductive rules of reasoning. These include the reductio ad absurdum, which can be used to prove the irrationality of the square root of two; the basic rules of symbolic, categorical, and propositional logic; and the truth tables.
The book continues with a section covering inductive logic and the uncertainty in our evidence. Watson and Arp discuss five basic strategies used in reasoning about the natural world: enumeration, generalization, analogy, causation, and inference to the best explanation. In addition, they explore over a dozen errors in reasoning. These include the ad hominem fallacy (e.g., “Professor X’s theory is bunk because he is a jerk”), the ad populum fallacy (e.g., “The majority of the population is skeptical of global warming, so it must be a hoax”), and the ad vericundiam fallacy (e.g., “If Einstein said quantum theory is bunk, it’s bunk”). A short final section shows how reasoning skills can help those taking graduate school entrance exams.
Packed with exercises, examples, and diagrams—and with a companion website featuring additional material—Critical Thinking illustrates the immense value of valid reasoning.
Hardcover Book : 352 pages
Publisher: Continuum International Pub. Group ( April 28, 2011 )
Item #: 13-437836
Product Dimensions: 6.125 x 9.25 inches
Product Weight: 22.0 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)