With Good Reason: An Introduction to Informal Fallacies Sixth Edition Edition

14 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0312157586
ISBN-10: 0312157584
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About the Author

S. MORRIS ENGEL (Ph.D., University of Toronto) recently retired as a professor of philosophy at York University in Toronto, Ontario. Previously, he taught at the University of Southern California for twenty-five years. His many publications include The Study of Philosophy, Third Edition (1990) and The Language Trap (1994), as well as Wittgenstein's Doctrine of the Tyranny of Language (1971). Engel is also renowned as a translator of Yiddish, with projects including The Dybbuk (1979) and Kiddush Hashem (1977), Rachmil Bryks's moving account of the Holocaust.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 317 pages
  • Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's; Sixth Edition edition (December 7, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312157584
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312157586
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.4 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #99,154 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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37 of 42 people found the following review helpful By salbro1 on May 2, 2004
Format: Paperback
Engel begins this book with a general discussion about what logic and argument are/aren't, and about how language impacts the manner in which arguments are formed and understood. He then delves into the informal fallacies, which he divides into three categories: (1) fallacies of ambiguity, which seem to be more misuse/abuse of language than actual fallacies of logic; (2) fallacies of presumption (e.g., hasty generalization, begging the question, slippery slope); and (3) fallacies of relevance (e.g., ad hominem, appeal to authority).
The explanations use clear, simple language that would be appropriate for high-school reading levels and above. As a graduate student, I found this to be an easy but engaging read.
I have two complaints about the book. First, Engel uses many examples from the real world--which is good--but the fallacies in these examples tend to be too obvious. It would be good to start out with obviously fallacious arguments and then move onto more subtle/complicated examples. Second, there are exercises at the end of each chapter where the reader can put his/her new knowledge to work, but answers are given for only a few of the questions in these exercises, which was frustrating.
In summary, this is a good, easily-read introduction to logic. It both prepares and encourages the reader to continue studying logical fallacies, but don't expect to be an expert at identifying fallacies when you're done with this book.
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33 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Barbara on April 25, 2006
Format: Paperback
After being given the assignment(s) to read and execute the assigned problem sets in WITH GOOD REASON, I decided that this text ALONE was worth all of the thousands upon thousands of dollars I spent on my college education. It changed my life! No longer did I flounder trying to support my 'intuitive' ideas about life, I was now armed (and considerably more dangerous -- ie: effective) with the tools of discernment, brilliantly illuminated by Dr. Engel.

THANK YOU Dr. Engel!! Thank you, thank you, thank you, ad infinum!

My degree work in math, physics, and fine art, paled in their importance to what I learned from Dr.Engel's succinct discourse of informal fallacies. I finished in 1989 and as the tag line stated, I still read and proseletyze from this book-- in fact, I am writing and producing a radio show on informal fallacies based upon WITH GOOD REASON. The show is slated as THINK AGAIN! and will premiere within the next 3 months on RBNLive.com. (today is 4/25/86 ).

I am replacing my well worn, weathered, rubber-banded copy of WITH GOOD REASON with a brand spanking new copy... I encourage EVERYONE to read this book, and more importantly, lobby all school boards to make this book a mandatory course prior to graduating from high school-- yes-- HIGH SCHOOL! Our children need this book.

**If anyone out there in the internet ether knows how to contact Dr.Engel, please contact me, Barbara, at RBN (800)313-9443. Thank you!

BUY IT! (And donate as many as possible to the school districts in your area!!) This is serious business- no one is teaching kids how to think or discern "what is reasonable and what is not".
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By TW VINE VOICE on December 3, 2008
Format: Paperback
A comprehensive understanding of logic is vital to ensuring our personal beliefs are established from a solid assessment of facts. Logic is at the forefront of our ability to reason, and thus its importance can not be undermined. If you only had the opportunity to undertake one book on the subject, Engel's "With Good Reason" would be quite adequate.

Engel presents a steady flowing presentation of the topic that is simple yet comprehensive. The book is filled with countless helpful samples, diagrams, and even humor at times. I have not encountered a more clear-cut approach to uncovering the complexities of simple logic and the magnitude of common fallacies.

I highly recommend this book to anyone seeking to understand the eccentricities of logic and wish to do so without being burdened by an overly academic presentation.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By tk221 on April 12, 2008
Format: Paperback
The book is called "With Good Reason: An Introduction to Informal Fallacies". This may sound like a real scholarly read to anyone who isn't in University, but really it is a simple, straight-forward descriptive work with numerous examples of the many ways our politicians, advertisers, religious leaders and others may often use language in persuasive ways to trick people into buying into what is essentially circular or false logic. For example, in a radio interview a person might be interviewed who is an opposition party member, and they want to discredit the current government of their city. They may start by saying, "Why is the water utility service in this district so much more unreliable than any other?" They get the listener on their side with the assumption that what they are speaking is given fact, when actually it may not have been an accurate statement in the first place. This is called a loaded question (it contains information which seems to be based in fact, but has not yet been proven), there are all types of strange ways that dishonest people can use language in print, tv and radio to trick unsuspecting people.
I think the types of examples the author sites in the book are very common, and yet I learnt a lot, for I often let myself be persuaded by arguments that strike an emotional chord first, without examining the logic behind them. \
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