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The Art of Deception: An Introduction to Critical Thinking Paperback – April 3, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"I would recommend this book to anyone interested in learning about intellectual self-defence. It should be on every student's book shelf, and on every educators list of recommended reading." --Dr Jason Braithwaite, Behavioural Brain Sciences Centre, University of Birmingham.

About the Author

Nicholas Capaldi, PhD (Baton Rouge, LA), holds the Legendre-Soulé Distinguished Scholar Chair in Business Ethics at Loyola University of New Orleans. He is the author or editor of many books including Affirmative Action: Social Justice or Unfair Preference?; Immigration: Debating the Issues; and John Stuart Mill: A Biography.

Miles Smit, PhD (Toronto, Ontario), works as a business analyst in Canada and holds a PhD in philosophy from the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 277 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books; Revised edition (April 3, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159102532X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591025320
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.6 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #186,566 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

77 of 83 people found the following review helpful By Michael J Webb on April 27, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book is one of those cases where the title really does sum up the nature of the book. This book is everything that its title implies.
If you are looking for a quick read (perhaps you have a tough debate tomorrow) on how to recognize fallacies, present arguments and a basic introduction into informal logic then you will like this book (in fact, in this case, I would highly recommend it). If, however, you are seeking a formal introduction to the theoretical framework of logic then maybe "Introduction to Logic" by Copi is better suited to your needs.
Overall, this book fulfilled its purpose. You'll do well in your tough debate after reading this book.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
ONE: INTRODUCTION. What is Logic? What is an Argument? When is an Argument Acceptable?
TWO: IDENTIFYING ARGUMENTS. Arguments. Difficulties in Identifying Arguments. Grammar, Punctuation , and Reading Comprehension. Rules for Identifying Premises and Conclusions.
THREE: FORMAL ANALYSIS OF ARGUMENTS. Idal of Logic. Syllogisms. Rules for Valid Syllogisms. Soundness and Informal Logic.
FOUR: PRESENTING YOUR CASE. Gaining a Sympathetic Audience. Presenting the Facts. Driving Home the Conclusion. Nonverbal Devices. Advertising as a Case Study.
FIVE: ATTACKING AN ARGUMENT. Audience Reaction. Anatomy of Refutation. Attacking the Conclusion. Face-to-Face Debate.
SIX: DEFENDING YOUR CASE. Counterattack. Winning the Argument. Going for a Tie.
SEVEN: CAUSE-AND-EFFECT REASONING. History of the Concept of 'Causation'. Hume's Definition of Cause and Effect. Causal Reasoning as Practical. Mill's Methods. Fallacies of Causal Reasoning. Problems with the Concept of 'Causation'.
Good luck!
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133 of 149 people found the following review helpful By Bernard M. Patten on June 11, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Who open scroll always profit says an ancient Chinese motto. The same applies to books. I profited from reading this one, but I didn't profit much or enough. The work is uneven and needs focus. The title is poor because it misnames the subject of the book which is, incidentally, not how to win an anrgument, but how to think clearly. Some of the author's points would have passed me by and probably other points would have been downright confusing had I not had a background in logic. And one wonders about a book on the Art of Deception deceiving people into believing that the book is one thing when it is really about something else. Perhaps some well meaning editior or PR person mispersuaded the author to use this fake and phony title in the hope of increased sales. A few bones: I don't like the word argument because of its two meanings. Demonstration is better. The formal analysis of arguments (my demonstrations) in chapter three hits the reader on the head: Although it is technically correct, without a background in formal logic you might get lost fast. The chapter could have done better explaining the differences between contraries and contradictions and the reasons for the other errors which are never clearly stated. The author just assumes the reader will get it when I have a feeling derived from teaching logic for years that they won't and don't. For intstance, why the undistributed middle term invalidates a proof is clear to me only because I knew it from previous studies, and thought long and hard about it, not from what the author says here in his book. And the worst sin of all: Somewhere in the middle of the discussion of groupthink, the author seems to get bored with his own discussion. No wonder the reader nods off.Read more ›
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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Akim on March 18, 2004
Format: Paperback
I appreciate what the author was trying to do: teach logic and rhetoric in a fun how-to-succeed format. I don't think it works very well, though. It's too disjointed to be helpful to the beginner and too familiar to be interesting to more advanced students.
For the beginner: To learn logic, start out with David Kelley's "The Art of Reasoning" and Irving Copi's "Introduction to Logic". To learn rhetoric and argumentation, try David Zarefsky's audiotape course on "Argumentation: The Study of Effective Reasoning" and his books on public speaking.
More advanced students will want to check out Chaim Perelman's books on rhetoric and Douglas N. Walton's studies of informal fallacies. An excellent but out-of-print book is William J. Brandt's "The Rhetoric of Argumentation" which gives detailed analyses of effective and ineffective rhetorical strategies in essay-writing.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 20, 2003
Format: Paperback
I would like to second the reviews by Mr. Patten and Mr. Gorman. "The Art of Deception" is itself deceptively titled. The author takes a pseudo-Machiavellian tack and tries to promote elementary critical thinking skills in the guise of a handbook for unscrupulous debaters. Cute idea, but it sort of defeats itself. Sadly, it could actually be used as a handbook for the unscrupulous--and probably has been. And, as others have pointed out, the book is alternately sketchy and tedious. I, too, would have been baffled by several discussions in the book if I hadn't already taken several college courses in logic and rhetoric.
For a much better book on this subject, read Howard Kahane's "Logic and Contemporary Rhetoric".
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