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Becoming a Critical Thinker - A Guide for the New Millennium Paperback – January 1, 2000

ISBN-13: 978-0536600608 ISBN-10: 0536600600 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 236 pages
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall; 1 edition (January 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0536600600
  • ISBN-13: 978-0536600608
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 8 x 10.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,296,930 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Robert Todd Carroll (b. 1945) has always been interested in weird things, mysteries, stories of miracles and psychics and how beliefs in strange things conflict with logic and science. His favorite pasttime is thinking about why people believe in psychics, alien abductions, astrology, and hundreds of other things that conflict with what the science tells us. He taught Critical Thinking for more than thirty years and still enjoys investigating the biases, fallacies, and illusions that make being rational difficult. Since 1994, he's been posting articles on weird things and critical thinking at The website is called The Skeptic's Dictionary and has more than 700 entries, plus essays, book reviews, and more.

He taught philosophy for many years at a northern California community college. His first book (1975) was about the philosophy of an Anglican bishop who challenged the new empiricism as expressed by John Locke. Later, he wrote the text book "Becoming a Critical Thinker" (2003, 2nd ed. 2005) and a book named after his website: "The Skeptic's Dictionary" (Wiley, 2003).

In 2011, the James Randi Educational Foundation published his e-book "Unnatural Acts: Critical Thinking, Science, and Skepticism Exposed!" In 2012, the paperback of "Unnatural Acts" came out. "Mysteries and Science" came about at the urging of his wife and grandchildren for a critical thinking/science book about weird things aimed at a younger audience. In 2013, he published "The Critical Thinker's Dictionary: Biases, Fallacies, and Illusions and what you can do about them."

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

107 of 112 people found the following review helpful By James Axsom on April 4, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have read this book and combed through it many times because of the many gold nuggets of information. Dr. Carroll writes an execellent book teaching you to think critically by educating you to decipher the difference between logical thought and non sense, tricky language, bias, selective thinking, and much more.
Dr. Carroll covers diagramming complex arguements, syllogisms, common fallacies such as begging the question, slippery slope, the gamblers fallacy, ad hominem, poison the well, irrelevant appeal to authority, ad poplum and much more.
Dr. Carroll also covers a great section on science and pseudoscience which teaches you to determine what is actually scientific or someone's dream of wishful thinking that one just won't let go, such as parapsychology.
The book starts you out with basics and then gradually introduces more material into the topic. In each chapter there are excercises to pratice your new learned skills. There are answers in the back of the book for those marked questions to see if you got the answers right.
A must buy for those seeking clarity of thought.
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45 of 47 people found the following review helpful By karenski on February 15, 2006
Format: Paperback
Here are the chapters...

1. Critical Thinking
2. Language and Critical Thinking
3. Sources
4. Identifying Arguments
5. Evaluating Arguments
6. Evaluating Extended Arguments
7. Sampling
8. Analogical and Causal Reasoning
9. Science and Pseudoscience
_ Answers to Selected Exercises
_ Glossary

If you're looking for someone to spoonfeed you, then this book is NOT for you. Robert Todd Carroll points the reader in the direction of critical thinking and gives them a thorough introduction. He covers related areas such as: begging the question, confirmation bias, fallacies, non sequiteur, random sample, self-deception, straw man, worldview, etc, etc. Dr Carroll's case studies are presented in such a way that if you try to agree with him too soon (wanting to be spoonfed), you will soon find the author shaking you off his tail. He succeeded in getting this reader to think for herself before jumping to conclusions. I also learnt the value of examining ALL the details at the same time as taking in the context of the wider picture - in as unbiased a way as possible.

Interestingly, two other critical thinking books get more than a handful of glowing reviews. "How We Know What Isn't So" by Gilovich, and "Asking the Right Questions: A Guide to Critical Thinking" by Browne & Keeley. While I've not read them, after reading this book, I believe I have gained a thorough and practical introduction to critical thinking; so I don't feel the need at this point in time to look into the other two. I made this purchase on the strength of Robert Todd Carroll's "Skeptics Dictionary", which seemed to me to be well researched.

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