- Paperback: 236 pages
- Publisher: Prentice Hall; 1 edition (January 1, 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0536600600
- ISBN-13: 978-0536600608
- Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 8 x 10.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,859,879 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Becoming a Critical Thinker - A Guide for the New Millennium 1st Edition
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Top customer reviews
Dr. Carroll covers diagramming complex arguements, syllogisms, common fallacies such as begging the question, slippery slope, the gamblers fallacy, ad hominem, poison the well, irrelevant appeal to authority, ad poplum and much more.
Dr. Carroll also covers a great section on science and pseudoscience which teaches you to determine what is actually scientific or someone's dream of wishful thinking that one just won't let go, such as parapsychology.
The book starts you out with basics and then gradually introduces more material into the topic. In each chapter there are excercises to pratice your new learned skills. There are answers in the back of the book for those marked questions to see if you got the answers right.
A must buy for those seeking clarity of thought.
1. Critical Thinking
2. Language and Critical Thinking
4. Identifying Arguments
5. Evaluating Arguments
6. Evaluating Extended Arguments
8. Analogical and Causal Reasoning
9. Science and Pseudoscience
_ Answers to Selected Exercises
If you're looking for someone to spoonfeed you, then this book is NOT for you. Robert Todd Carroll points the reader in the direction of critical thinking and gives them a thorough introduction. He covers related areas such as: begging the question, confirmation bias, fallacies, non sequiteur, random sample, self-deception, straw man, worldview, etc, etc. Dr Carroll's case studies are presented in such a way that if you try to agree with him too soon (wanting to be spoonfed), you will soon find the author shaking you off his tail. He succeeded in getting this reader to think for herself before jumping to conclusions. I also learnt the value of examining ALL the details at the same time as taking in the context of the wider picture - in as unbiased a way as possible.
Interestingly, two other critical thinking books get more than a handful of glowing reviews. "How We Know What Isn't So" by Gilovich, and "Asking the Right Questions: A Guide to Critical Thinking" by Browne & Keeley. While I've not read them, after reading this book, I believe I have gained a thorough and practical introduction to critical thinking; so I don't feel the need at this point in time to look into the other two. I made this purchase on the strength of Robert Todd Carroll's "Skeptics Dictionary", which seemed to me to be well researched.
So why aren't there currently more reviews for "Becoming a Critical Thinker"? It's into its second edition, late 2004. The "Skeptics Dictionary" has 33 reviews so far, and that was released in 2003. I don't know what the other author's qualifications are, but my guess is it would be daunting to put up a review for a book on critical thinking by someone with a doctorate in philosophy. He has a website at skepdic.com by the way (note the spelling), where you can currently download chapter one of the revised edition of this book.
Presentation for this first edition is, however, uninviting. Apparently the manuscript was presented camera ready by the author. And it shows. The type is fuzzy, of the cheap printer quality kind, and the lines do waver a little. Also, font choices don't make reading easy on the eye. Having two columns per page would have prevented losing place when reading from the end of one line to the the beginning of the next. Layout takes some getting used to. There are no pictures, only a few diagrams. Absence of chapter titles at the header of pages mean - when you open the book you don't immediately know which chapter you're at. Note too: there's no index, there is a glossary. This book is a nice size that sits open well on a desk.
A pleasant surprise was that I was able give some reason for my poor mathematical skills. I've little aptitiude for formal logic and much prefer informal logic. This knowledge will help focus me in my career decisions, and even book buying ones! A useful book to the point of being valuable, just a shame to have to strain somewhat to read the print.