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Asking the Right Questions: A Guide to Critical Thinking (8th Edition) [Paperback]

M. Neil Browne , Stuart M. Keeley
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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There is a newer edition of this item:
Asking the Right Questions (11th Edition) Asking the Right Questions (11th Edition)
In stock on July 12, 2014

Book Description

February 10, 2006 0132203049 978-0132203043 8
The habits and attitudes associated with critical thinking are transferable to consumer, medical, legal, and general ethical choices. When our surgeon says surgery is needed, it can be life sustaining to seek answers to the critical questions encouraged in Asking the Right Questions This popular book helps bridge the gap between simply memorizing or blindly accepting information, and the greater challenge of critical analysing the things we are told and read. It gives strategies for responding to alternative points of view and will help readers develop a solid foundation for making personal choices about what to accept and what to reject.

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

This highly popular text helps students to bridge the gap between simply memorizing or blindly accepting information and the greater challenge of critical analysis and synthesis.  It teaches them to respond to alternative points of view and develop a solid foundation for making personal choices about what to accept and what to reject.


While the structure  of this new edition remains the same, for the sake of currency and relevance about two-thirds of the practice passages are new, as well as many of the longer illustrations and the final critical thinking case.  Also, this eighth edition  has been revised to emphasize the positive value of critical thinking as a means to autonomy, curiousity, reasonableness, openness, and better decisions.

About the Author

Neil Browne lectures at bowling Green State University.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall; 8 edition (February 10, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0132203049
  • ISBN-13: 978-0132203043
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #149,409 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
40 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A balanced and informative guide August 20, 2006
I found Asking the Right Questions (ARQ) to be a very balanced and thorough approach to critical thinking. I am an electrical engineer by profession... I am well-regarded by my peers as an careful thinker; however, I have found myself frustrated at times when discussing controversial issues with friends... some lines of thought don't ring true, but are nonetheless hard to refute. After reading ARQ, I found that these dilemmas are frequently either the result of not agreeing on the definitions of ambiguous terms (e.g. oppression, sexism, racism) or on some logical fallacy that was used. This has made a quite difference in my ability to discern the issues at hand.

ARQ uses a systematic list of questions to review the proposed thesis. These questions are designed to help you understand their conclusion, and evaluate their supporting evidence. Throughout the book, you are encouraged to set your own biases aside in favor of rationally evaluating the evidence. Furthermore, you receive some brief instruction on typical logical fallicies. In particular, Ad hominem attacks (i.e. attacks on the character of participants) are addressed; however, blatant character references are just beginning of an ad-hominem attack. Many times discussions get sidetracked by implicit accusations about a person's character. As an example, this statement (greatly simplified here) was used on me in the past, "you couldn't possibly be able to think critically, because your spiritual convictions make you biased." Until I read ARQ, I had a hard time realizing that this is actually a diversionary tactic used to sidetrack the discussion. If I accept this "evidence", the issue now becomes my credibility, instead of discussing my actual position on the issue.
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good questions. Very helpful indeed. April 3, 2007
I strongly agree with the author on pg 13, that "by the end of the book, you should know when and how to ask these questions productively (elaborated through individual chapters):-

1. What are the issues and the concclusions?

2. What are the ressons?

3. Which words or phrases are ambiguous?

4. What are the value conflicts and assumptions?

5. What are the descriptive assumptions?

6. Are there any fallacies in the reasoning?

7. How good is the evidence?

8. Are there rival causes?

9. Are the statistics deceptive?

10. What significant information is omitted?

11. What reasonable conclusions are possible?

Of course, a compilation of good questions doesnt qualify it to be a good book. Indeed, the samples and stories well illustrate the principles and concepts behind. The discussions on various fallacies are marvelous, including:-

Ad hominem: An attack, or an insult, on the person, rather than directly addressing the person's reasons.

Slipperly Slope: Making the assumption that a proposed step will set off an uncontrollable chain of undesirable events, when procedures exist to prevent such a chain of events.

Hasty Generalization: A person draws a conclusion about a large group of based on experience with only a few members of the group.

Causal Oversimplification: Explaining an event by relying on causal factors that are insufficient to account for the event or by overemphasizing the role of one or more of these factors.

Confusion of Cause and Effect: Confusing the cause with the effect of an event or failing to recognise that the two events may be influencing each other.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
An excellent book on the subject of reflective thought and criticism. Moreover, this book was more concise and illustrative than others I have read on the subject. This book includes many helpful case examples of short one and two paragraph essays which are analyzed critically for assumptions and fallacies in reasoning. If you needed to buy (and keep) just one book on the subject of critical thinking - this one should be it.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Critical made simple May 10, 2011
By Rolian
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is one of those books that I wish I had 20 years ago. For so long I have listened to people talk and knew there was something wrong in their logic or that there were assumptions being made, but I couldn't quite figure out how to break it down to explain or argue against it. This books very simply shows you how to do that.

For many years I wondered how lawyer knew what questions to ask and when. I wondered how politicians could even believe half of the nonsense they spewed out, but again, wasn't quite sure what was wrong with what they were saying. It was just a feeling. This book will help you to see clearly, argue in a direct manner, and may even help you to understand yourself and your friends better. A very good reference book to have.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Helped me tremendously August 2, 2010
By Sujini2
I think this book really helped my critical thinking skills. It gives you exercises to do at the end of each chapter which is wonderful because you are immediately able to put your newfound knowledge to work! Additionally, almost everything is carefully explained... (I had trouble with one or two later chapters, but maybe it was just me). I liked it!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Now I have to order another one.
I have ordered three different paperbacks within the last year on the subject of critical thinking. This is by far the most usable. Read more
Published 4 months ago by poo
4.0 out of 5 stars A keeper
I had to buy this for a college ethics class. The class was cancelled, but I read it anyhow because it was thought provoking.
Published 12 months ago by NorthwestRain
4.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive and helpful
Was generally uncomfortable posing questions in public forum. This book helped me ask constructive, logical questions that added value to the discussion. Read more
Published on June 14, 2012 by Squish
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Crash Course
After a slightly bland first few pages, this becomes an excellent quick course on logical, illogical and emotion-ridden thinking. Read more
Published on August 16, 2011 by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Asking the Right Questions
This book is a good text book for college students but not for the general public. I wanted something that I could use as quick reference to help my young son learn how to... Read more
Published on August 9, 2011 by Digital Lady
4.0 out of 5 stars Rationally Ask and You shall receive
Here is a detailed account on how to think as one learns to reason through and ask the right questions. Read more
Published on October 16, 2009 by CAM Book Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars the best!
critical thinking is one of the most important things in the world, and this is a definitive guide
Published on June 7, 2009 by Robert G. Lithgow
5.0 out of 5 stars Questioning leads to knowledge...and knowledge leads to wisdom!
This book is very helpful at opening up ones mind to alternatives by asking questions. Not just a few questions, but question everything. Read more
Published on June 10, 2008 by C. Clayton
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!
This has got to be hands down one of the best books I have ever read. I picked this up for a class I was taking and it really opened my eyes. Read more
Published on November 22, 2007 by Catherine M. Day
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
This book is a must have for every rhetoric class! Easy to read and understand, best tool for a student.
Published on September 5, 2007 by Camille Battle
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