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Critical Thinking - 6th Edition 

Critical Thinking - 6th Edition

An Introduction to the Basic Skills

Written by: William Hughes, Jonathan Lavery & Katheryn Doran

6th Edition

Publication Date: February 15, 2010
468pp • Paperback / PDF
ISBN: 9781551111636 / 1551111632

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William Hughes's Critical Thinking, recently revised and updated by Jonathan Lavery and Katheryn Doran, is a comprehensive and accessible introduction to the essential skills required to make strong arguments. Hughes, Lavery, and Doran give a thorough treatment of such traditional topics as deductive and inductive reasoning, logical fallacies, the importance of inference, how to recognize and avoid ambiguity, and how to assess what is or is not relevant to an argument. The authors also cover less traditional topics such as special concerns to keep in mind when reasoning about ethical matters, and how the nature of a language can affect the structure of an argument. In addition to covering basic concepts for analyzing and assessing arguments, the text also has two chapters that are designed to help students write argumentative essays. Last but not least, Critical Thinking includes a selection of logical paradoxes and puzzles that are as entertaining as they are enlightening.

For the sixth edition particular attention has been paid to the needs of American students and instructors.

Comments on this and the previous edition:

"I cannot think of a better introduction to critical thinking that does not compromise philosophical rigor. The clarity of the writing, the accessibility of the material, the numerous self-tests, and the chapters on philosophical writing are some of the reasons why I continue to use this text. Not only does the book offer an excellent introduction to standard elements of critical thinking, it also addresses issues surrounding the media, assessing and organizing argumentative essays, and philosophical puzzles and paradoxes. However educators might wish to organize a course in critical thinking, Hughes and Lavery have provided a superb text that is worthy of adoption." – Mahesh Ananth, Indiana University, South Bend

"…a text which is destined to make a noteworthy contribution to the critical thinking movement" – David Naugle, Dallas Baptist University

The late William Hughes was Professor and Chair in the Philosophy Department at the University of Guelph. Jonathan Lavery is Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Contemporary Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University, Brantford. Katheryn Doran is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at Hamilton College.

Supplementary Materials: [Back to Top]

Academics please note:
This textbook has an instructor's website containing notes on examples and discussion questions, test questions, and PowerPoint slides. An access code to this website is included with all examination copies.

Table of Contents: [Back to Top]


Part I: Introduction

Chapter 1: Reasoning and Critical Thinking

    1.1 Reasoning

    1.2 The Concept of Logical Strength

    1.3 Truth, Logical Strength, and Soundness

    1.4 Critical Thinking Skills

    1.5 Critical Thinking and the Science of Logic

    1.6 Self-Test No. 1

    1.7 Questions for Discussion    

Part II: Meaning

Chapter 2: Meaning and Definition

    2.1 The Complexity of Language

    2.2 The Meaning of Language

    2.3 The Main Functions of Language

    2.4 Self-Test No. 2

    2.5 Questions for Discussion

    2.6 Definition

    2.7 The Purposes of Definition

    2.8 Methods of Definition

    2.9 Assessing Reportive Definitions

    2.10 Assessing Stipulative and Essentialist Definitions

    2.11 A Warning

    2.12 Self-Test No. 3

    2.13 Questions for Discussion

Chapter 3: Clarifying Meaning

    3.1 The Principle of Charity

    3.2 Linguistic Ambiguity

    3.3 Self-Test No. 4

    3.4 Analytic, Contradictory, and Synthetic Statements

    3.5 Self-Test No. 5

    3.6 Descriptive and Evaluative Meaning

    3.7 Self-Test No. 6

    3.8 Necessary and Sufficient Conditions

    3.9 Self-Test No. 7

    3.10 Questions for Discussion

Chapter 4: Reconstructing Arguments

    4.1 Reconstruction

    4.2 Missing Premises and Conclusions

    4.3 Self-Test No. 8

    4.4 Special Cases

    4.5 Self-Test No. 9

    4.6 The Structure of Arguments    

    4.7 Self-Test No. 10

    4.8 Another Warning

    4.9 Questions for Discussion

Part III: Assessing Arguments

Chapter 5: Strategies for Assessing Arguments

    5.1 The Fallacies Approach

    5.2 The Criterial Approach

    5.3 Seven Rules for Assessing Arguments

Chapter 6: Assessing Truth Claims

    6.1 Theories of Truth

    6.2 Types of Truth Claims

    6.3 Acceptability

    6.4 Self-Test No. 11

    6.5 Questions for Discussion

    6.6 Assessing the Acceptability of Premises

    6.7 Some Particular Fallacies

    6.8 Self-Test No. 12

    6.9 Questions for Discussion

Chapter 7: Assessing Relevance

    7.1 The Criterion of Relevance

    7.2 Recognizing Irrelevant Premises

    7.3 Appeals To Authority (1)

    7.4 Some Particular Fallacies

    7.5 Self-Test No. 13

    7.6 Questions for Discussion

Chapter 8: Assessing Adequacy

    8.1 The Criterion of Adequacy

    8.2 Appeals to Authority (2)

    8.3 Appeals to Ignorance

    8.4 The Slippery Slope Fallacy

    8.5 Causal Fallacies

    8.6 Self-Test No. 14

    8.7 Questions for Discussion

Chapter 9: Deductive Reasoning

    9.1 The Nature of Deductive Reasoning

    9.2 Truth-Functional Statements

    9.3 Formal Validity and Soundness

    9.4 Valid Argument Forms

    9.5 Formal Invalidity

    9.6 Self-Test No. 15

    9.7 Questions for Discussion

Chapter 10: Inductive Reasoning

    10.1 The Nature of Inductive Reasoning

    10.2 Inductive Generalization

    10.3 Statistical Syllogism

    10.4 Induction by Confirmation

    10.5 Analogical Reasoning

    10.6 Self-Test No. 16

    10.7 Questions for Discussion

Part IV: Applications

Chapter 11: Scientific Reasoning

    11.1 Causation / Correlation

    11.2 Mill’s Methods

    11.3 Self-Test No. 17

    11.4 Argument to the Best Explanation

    Unrestricted Hypotheses

    11.5 Case for Discussion: Semmelweis's Discovery of Anti-sepsis

Chapter 12: Moral Reasoning

    12.1 Moral Judgments and Judgments of Taste

    12.2 Moral Justification

    12.3 Appeals to Principles of Right and Wrong

    12.4 Self-Test No. 18

    12.5 Questions for Discussion

    12.6 Appeals to Consequences

    12.7 Self-Test No. 19

    12.8 Questions for Discussion

    12.9 Rational Agreement

    12.10 Moral Maturity

    12.11 Questions for Discussion

Chapter 13: Arguing Back

    13.1 Explaining the Weakness

    13.2 Counter-examples

    13.3 Absurd Examples

    13.4 Counter-arguments

    13.5 Self-Test No. 20

    13.6 Questions for Discussion

Chapter 14: Irrational Techniques of Persuasion

    14.1 Loaded Terms

    14.2 Vague Terms

    14.3 Loaded Questions

    14.4 False Confidence

    14.5 Selectivity

    14.6 Misleading Statistics

    14.7 Humour

    14.8 Red Herring

    14.9 Guilt By Association

    14.10 Persuasive Redefinition

    14.11 Self-Test No. 21

    14.12 Questions for Discussion

Chapter 15: Critiquing the Media

    15.1 Determining Bias

    15.2 Is Objective Reporting Possible?

    15.3 How to Assess News Reports

    15.4 Another Warning

    15.5 Questions for Discussion

Chapter 16: Writing and Assessing Argumentative Essays

    16.1 Writing Argumentative Essays: Structure

    16.2 Writing Argumentative Essays: Style

    16.3 Assessing Argumentative Essays

    16.4 Assessing a Sample Argumentative Essay

    16.5 Questions for Discussion

Chapter 17: Strategies for Organizing an Argumentative Essay

    17.1 Advocate's Strategy

    17.2 Critic's Strategy

    17.3 Impartial Adjudicator's Strategy

Appendix I: Paradoxes and Puzzles

    1. Logical Paradoxes

    2. Puzzles

    3. Solutions to the Puzzles

Appendix II: Answers to Self-Tests


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Critical Thinking - 6th Edition

2010 • 468pp • Paperback • 9781551111636 / 1551111632

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Broadview Press acknowledges the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund, and also acknowledges the support of the Ontario Media Development Corporation. Freehand Books, an imprint of Broadview, acknowledges the support of the Canadian Council of the Arts.