The Power of Critical Thinking: Effective Reasoning about Ordinary and Extraordinary Claims

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Oxford University Press, 2008 - Education - 540 pages
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Enhanced by many innovative exercises, examples, and pedagogical features, The Power of Critical Thinking: Effective Reasoning About Ordinary and Extraordinary Claims, Second Edition, explores the essentials of critical reasoning, argumentation, logic, and argumentative essay writing while also incorporating material on important topics that most other texts leave out. Author Lewis Vaughn offers comprehensive treatments of core topics, including an introduction to claims and arguments, discussions of propositional and categorical logic, and full coverage of the basics of inductive reasoning. Building on this solid foundation, he also delves into areas neglected by other texts, adding extensive material on "inference to the best explanation" and on scientific reasoning; a thorough look at the evaluation of evidence and credibility; and a chapter on the psychological and social factors that can impede critical thinking. Additional notable elements are a chapter on moral reasoning, advice on how to evaluate Internet sources, and guidelines for evaluating occult, paranormal, or supernatural claims.
The Power of Critical Thinking, Second Edition, integrates many pedagogical features including hundreds of diverse exercises, examples, and illustrations; progressive, stand-alone writing modules; numerous text boxes; step-by-step guidelines for evaluating claims, arguments, and explanations; a glossary of important terms; and many reminders, summaries, and review notes throughout. The text is supplemented by a companion website at (offering a student study guide and more), and an Instructor's Manual with Test Questions (available both in print and on a CD).
This unique text features a modular structure that allows instructors to teach the chapters in almost any order. Written in a student-friendly style and enhanced by humor where appropriate, it is ideal for courses in critical thinking, introduction to logic, informal logic, argumentative writing, and introduction to argumentation.

New to the Second Edition

* Full-color throughout and an expanded art program (37 more photos and illustrations)
* A new writing module--an annotated sample student paper--and five additional essays for analysis
* A new section on evaluating news reports and advertising
* Timely discussions of intelligent design and population (nonintervention) studies
* Expanded coverage of experts and authors and reasons to doubt their reliability
* More "Field Problems" and exercise questions
* Chapter objectives and key terms with definitions for each chapter

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About the author (2008)

Lewis Vaughn is the author or coauthor of several books, including: Bioethics: Principles, Issues, and Cases (OUP, 2008); How to Think About Weird Things: Critical Thinking for a New Age, Fifth Edition (2007); Doing Ethics: Moral Reasoning and Contemporary Issues (2007); Doing Philosophy: An Introduction Through Thought Experiments, Third Edition (2006); and Writing Philosophy: A Student's Guide to Writing Philosophy Essays (OUP, 2005).

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