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52 of 62 people found the following review helpful
on February 22, 2004
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I bought this book largely on the strength of the other reviews here, almost all of which are 5 stars.
This is a *short* book, which I read thoroughly in two and a half hours. It's also, however, cheap, so one can't complain about the length.
The book is essentially a clear list of well-denoted rules for logical arguments. However, nearly all of them are common-sensical. If you already know, for example, that correlation does not imply causation, and understand why this is, you can skip over about 9 of the 85 pages.
The chapter on fallacies I found similarly dissapointing. You probably already understand intrinsically that if the mail is invariably late when it snows, and the mail is late today, it did not necessarily snow; something else could have happened. The book also clears up any confusion by pointing out that a personal attack such as "he's wrong because he's black" is not a valid criticism of a source's qualifications. (If you need to be able to put the correct terms to this logic, the chapter might be more useful.)
Despite being a bit too rudimentary (even for someone like me, a high school senior who has had no formal training of this sort), A Rulebook for Arguments contains some moderately useful guidelines when it comes to issues like defining one's terms and sticking to them. Again, I wasn't impressed by the section on composing an essay, but I suppose it could be helpful to someone who has truly never written an essay that defended a thesis.
For the price, you could give it a shot. But I don't know if I'd pay even $6, given a second chance.
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