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Thinking from A to Z Paperback – August 14, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-0415433716 ISBN-10: 0415433711 Edition: 3rd

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 3 edition (August 14, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415433711
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415433716
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 4.5 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #293,291 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

'Warburton is always a very clear writer and has the knack of finding the right register to talk to the non-professional without over-simplifying or patronising.' – Philosopher's Magazine

About the Author

Nigel Warburton is Senior Lecturer at The Open University and a bestselling author. His other books include Philosophy: The Basics, fourth edition, Philosophy: The Classics, third edition, Philosophy: The Essential Study Guide, The Art Question and Freedom, all published by Routledge.

Customer Reviews

This book is an excellent companion to anyone starting out in the world of Philosophy.
Jane Do Carmo
Using witty and topical examples, author Nigel Warburton will enable you to distinguish with confidence between a red herring and a straw man.
Azlan Adnan
"Thinking" is set up like a dictionary, with alphabetical entries and boldfaced cross references.
George R Dekle

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

77 of 79 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 29, 2003
Format: Paperback
The title is too broad for what the book is essentially about: providing brief explanations of logical reasoning and fallacies. The "A to Z" is basically the format of the book, starting with such "A" terms like the ad hominem fallacy and moving to "Z". This format may be cute and useful when you need to know a specific definition, but generally unhelpful at giving you a brief introduction to logic.
This book is very slim, resembling a pocket dictionary -- but in this case, it's a pocket guide to informal logic terms and fallacies. Each little definition of a term is very brief, with usually only one small example illustrating how the term is used correctly or incorrectly.
Quite honestly, I found Anthony Weston's "A Rulebook for Arguments" more effective as a concise book on logical arguments. This book seems more like a nifty little gift you'd give to a philosophy major, rather than a handy reference material you'd depend on. At the cover price, I would think that most people would rather invest in Weston's book as a reference guide.
I hope this clears up any confusion about the contents of this book. If you're still not sure, I'd advise you to check the book out at the library or bookstore before buying.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By George R Dekle on January 25, 2002
Format: Paperback
I believe it was P.T. Barnum who said "You'll never go broke underestimating the public." Barnum was speaking hyperbolically (I hope), but it is true that many otherwise intelligent people will fall prey to the most outlandish fraud and manipulation. In addition to protecting the reader against conmen, this little book will serve as an antidote to fuzzy thinking in general.
"Thinking" is set up like a dictionary, with alphabetical entries and boldfaced cross references. This arrangement makes the work somewhat user-unfriendly. You can't analyze an argument by looking it up in the book. You won't know what entry to look under. Reading the book straight through from A to Z makes the presentation somewhat disjointed because related ideas are scattered throughout the book depending on what letter of the alphabet they begin with.
A good way to attack the book is to start at A and read the entries in alphabetical order, stopping to look up and read each cross reference as you come to it. Thus you'd read "Absurd consequences move" first, and then skip to "reductio ad absurdum," "refutation," and the other terms cross referenced in the entry. Then you'd read the next alphabetical entry and all its cross references, and so on until you come to the end of the book. If you follow this procedure with each alphabetical entry, re-reading every term each time it is cross referenced, by the time you get to "Zig-zagging," you will have a good handle on all types of logical and illogical arguments. You'll also be able to analytically dissect advertisements, newscasts, op-ed pieces, and political speeches.
"Thinking," gives an excellent grounding in rhetorical analysis that will serve you well the next time someone tries to pull the wool over your eyes.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Azlan Adnan on July 31, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Being able to spot poor reasoning and diversionary tactics such as fallacies, gobbledegook, jargon, pseudo-profundity and smokescreens will put more clout behind your arguments and sharpen your thinking. As an introduction to critical thinking, this delightfully concise little book provides some of the basic tools for clear thinking on any issue. The techniques and topics discussed are transferable and can be applied to any area in which clear thought is required: they have direct applications in most academic disciplines and in any facet of life in which people present reasons and evidence in support of conclusions.
Now in its second edition, this book is a set text for the Open University A211 Philosophy and the Human Situation course. It will give you the power to tell a good from a bad argument. Using witty and topical examples, author Nigel Warburton will enable you to distinguish with confidence between a red herring and a straw man. This new edition updates the whole text and includes many new entries, all listed in alphabetical order. However, the next edition should include the following suggested entries: * ergo et sum * I think, therefore I am * Rene Descartes * logic * Betrand Russell * lateral thinking * Six Thinking Hats * tautology
Nigel Warburton is the author of Philosophy: The Basics, Philosophy: The Classics, and editor of Philosophy: Basic Readings (all published by Routledge).
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan Jeffus on June 19, 1999
Format: Paperback
It succinctly explains generally the aspects of argument. What is modus ponnens or afirming the antecedent? How do you recognize the gamblers fallacy? It is in alphabetical order with the various subjects explained in the most simple terms possible, with many helpful examples. Well worth the price.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 23, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If I had read this book 25 years ago, I would have saved myself the confusions and frustrations of spending a great deal of time and effort trying to make sense of certain "New Age" authors whose pretentions were only matched by their (now obvious) lack of clear reasoning ability. This book is short and easy to read and understand, and its concepts are essential for avoiding the kinds of distortions and lies which are unfortunately so highly prevalent in any open society. Free speech is great, but we must all arm ourselves against the people who want to take advantage of our willingness to give other points of view the benefit of our doubts.
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More About the Author

Nigel Warburton (1962 - ). Nigel Warburton is a senior lecturer at the Open University and bestselling author of several popular introductory Philosophy books including Philosophy: The Basics, Thinking from A to Z, Philosophy: The Classics, Philosophy: Basic Readings, Freedom: An Introduction with Readings, and The Art Question. He is an Honorary Associate Research Fellow of the Institute of Philosophy and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. He can be found blogging, podcasting and twittering via his popular philosophy blog, Virtual Philosopher.

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