The Voice of Reason: Fundamentals of Critical Thinking

Paperback | August 15, 2001

byBurton F. Porter

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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 andvarious 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--aswell 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 andquotations throughout; and practical applications of theoretical concepts. An extensive Instructor's Manual contains answers to the exercises that appear throughout the text.

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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 andvarious academic fields, showing students and oth...

Burton Porter is at Western New England College.
Format:PaperbackDimensions:384 pages, 6.18 × 8.9 × 0.71 inPublished:August 15, 2001Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195141229

ISBN - 13:9780195141221

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Table of Contents

Analytic Table of Contents: Preface: 1. CRITICAL THINKINGBy Force of ArgumentAvoiding Self-Contradiction Assignments, Exercises, Puzzles: How Words Have MeaningUsing Terms and Mentioning Them Assignments, Exercises, Puzzles: PART I. THOUGHT AND LANGUAGE2. THE WAY WORDS WORKThe Basic Ingredients: Intension and ExtensionThe Connotation of Words Assignments, Exercises, Puzzles: Vagueness--Seeing DimlyAmbiguity--Seeing Double Assignments, Exercises, Puzzles: 3. LANGUAGE AND DEFINITIONTypes of Definitions: Stipulative and ReportiveSynonym and Example DefinitionsApplications Assignments, Exercises, Puzzles: Avoiding Definition MistakesApplications Assignments, Exercises, Puzzles: PART II. SYSTEMATIC REASONING4. DISAGREEMENTS, CLAIMS, AND REASONSTypes of Disagreements: Factual and VerbalInterpretive and Evaluative DisagreementsApplications Assignments, Exercises, Puzzles: Reasoning Things Out: Truth and Relevance in ArgumentsAdequate Proof and Alternative PossibilitiesSummaryApplications Assignments, Exercises, Puzzles: 5. COMMON MISTAKES IN THINKINGArgument to the Person and from AuthorityThreat of Force and Appeal to PityApplications Assignments, Exercises, Puzzles: Straw Person and Poisoning the WellThe Slippery Slope and the Gambler's FallacyApplications Assignments, Exercises, Puzzles: 6. MORE SUBTLE ERRORS OF THOUGHTThe Fallacy of Sweeping Generalization and Hasty GeneralizationBegging the Question and Complex QuestionApplications Assignments, Exercises, Puzzles: The Argument From Ignorance and to the MassesFalse Cause and Irrelevant ConclusionApplications Assignments, Exercises, Puzzles: 7. REASONING IN A FORMAL WAYThe Structure of Arguments: Conclusions and Premises (Claims and Warrants)Paraphrasing Statements and Seeing Implications Assignments, Exercises, Puzzles: Syllogisms and EnthymemesValidity and Truth Assignments, Exercises, Puzzles: 8. PATTERNS OF DEDUCTIVE THINKINGUsing Categorical ArgumentsApplications Assignments, Exercises, Puzzles: Hypotheticals: The If/Then FormApplications Assignments, Exercises, Puzzles: Disjunctives: Either/Or AlternativesApplications Assignments, Exercises, Puzzles: 9. INDUCTIVE THINKING: IDENTIFYING CAUSES, DRAWING ANALOGIESCausation: The Consequent and The SubsequentEstablishing Causal ConnectionsSummaryApplications Assignments, Exercises, Puzzles: Similes, Metaphors, and AnalogiesUsing Analogical Arguments EffectivelySummaryApplications Assignments, Exercises, Puzzles: 10. DERIVING GENERALIZATIONS, FORMING HYPOTHESESGeneralizing and DescribingUsing a Fair SampleApplications Assignments, Exercises, Puzzles: The Explanatory HypothesisDeveloping an Adequate HypothesesSummaryApplications Assignments, Exercises, Puzzles: PART III. MODES OF PROOF11. DISCOURSE COMMUNITIESThe Rhetoric of Politicians"Keynote Address, Democratic National Convention, 1984," Mario CuomoPersuasion in Advertising"Ogilvy on Advertising," David OgilvyThe Legal Case"Gregg V. Georgia," Supreme CourtDebates About Social Issues"Pornography, Obscenity, and the Case for Censorship," Irving Kristol Assignments, Exercises, Puzzles: 12. ARGUMENTS IN THE DISCIPLINESLiterary Explication"Robert Frost: The Way to the Poem," John CiardiScientific 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 SaganHistorical Explanation"The Causes of the Great Crash," John Kenneth GalbraithEthical Justification"A Defense of Abortion," Judith Jarvis Thomson Assignments, Exercises, Puzzles: APPENDIXClassifying: Genus and DifferentiaAnalytic and Synthetic SentencesPartial Solution Guide to Assignments, Exercises, PuzzlesIndex