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Understanding Arguments: An Introduction to Informal Logic 8th Edition

3.8 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0495603955
ISBN-10: 0495603953
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About the Author

Walter Sinnott-Armstrong is Chauncey Stillman Professor of Practical Ethics in the Department of Philosophy and the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University.

Robert J. Fogelin is Professor of Philosophy and Sherman Fairchild Professor in the Humanities at Dartmouth College.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Wadsworth Publishing; 8 edition (February 10, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0495603953
  • ISBN-13: 978-0495603955
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #79,629 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Lee Kennedy on December 29, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book is a recommended text for a Coursera on-line class on logic. Some bits are quite good, some are confusing and some are just impenetrable.

My biggest complaint, though, is about the exercises provided. There are no answers in the book so you have no idea whether you have done the exercises correctly and, as a consequence, learn nothing from them. I found the book a waste of a considerable amount of money.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This text furthers the tradition of philosophy professors to take complex ideas and make them more complex and obfuscated. Reading it is like revisiting my old upper-division classes and the old drowsiness returns.

The lack of answers to the quizzes shows disdain for the reader, assumed to be a captive college student. If you're reading it for knowledge, there are clearer, better books all around us. If it's for the Coursera course, there are clearer, better books all around us. But if must have it, read on.

Don't bother to buy it, you'll never read it more than once if that. Rent it just for the duration of the class if you really want it. Even then you'll be getting ripped off. The prices are typical student-rip-off prices... if it weren't a so-called "text book" it would sell for less than $20. But even if the teacher doesn't require it, he can "suggest" it and people will buy it thinking it'll help them get through the course. It might, but only if he quizzes specifically for it.

Finally, if you really want to buy this book, I'd suggest you look for the "Concise Edition" here on Amazon. It's the latest edition and sells for about $32, less than 1/3 the cost of the non-concise edition (the bloated, expensive edition). It has fewer bells and whistles, but has more than you'll need.
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By XY on October 29, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you are fond of calculating the value of a book by the number of memes you get per dollar, then this book is a good value. However, I wonder if the text hasn't become a bit bloated after 8 editions. There is material covered lightly here that is the subject of entire separate books, yet no indication is given that a superficial treatment is being provided (for example, material from linguistics and decision theory). The material that is provided is generally described well - the explanations are clear and there are sufficient examples to fix concepts.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The kindle version of this book is missing symbols for THEREFOR and OR. Minor issue for me, others may have more problems with it. Besides the improper rendering issue, I felt the book was somewhat shallow and topics were not described very well. The book also does not contain any form of answer key. So you get a lot of questions/problems to work, which is nice, but there are zero answers for them. Also they do not tie everything directly back into understanding arguments. By this I mean taking an op-ed or related material and deconstructing it using everything learned. The only time this is somewhat done is within the first three chapters before learning about deductive and inductive logic.
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This textbook and video course (on Coursera.org) have been quite informative and mentally stimulating. I had never considered carefully "dissecting" an argument to assess its validity. Neither had I realized the whole point of the exercise was to make a person's argument look its best, not worst! Thus far, the textbook and course have shown me how to excise unnecessary verbiage, red herrings, tangents and the like, until the conclusion is exposed as valid or invalid.
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Format: Paperback
I am currently on week 11 in the online course associated with this book and I plan to buy a non-pirated physical version of this book for reference purposes once the price becomes reasonable. I have learned quite a lot even though this is the 3rd logic/reasoning course that I have taken. This book is a great start for any logically journey :-)
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I used "Understanding Arguments" for a logic course in my undergrad (08) and it is an excellent book for beginning logic. The kind of foundation this book offers is crucial to enhance one's reading and comprehension ability. The skills focused on here apply to more then just the dissecting of philosophical arguments, they will enhance one's understanding in and out of many other classrooms as well.
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Understanding Arguments was the set textbook for my first-year informal logic class. I found it extremely readable and superbly engaging. There is an abundance of examples for all the concepts explained in the book. The chapters "Moral reasoning", "Legal reasoning" and "Religious reasoning" are absolutely excellent. High recommended book.
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