Critical Thinking – Concise Edition
  • Publication Date: October 23, 2015
  • ISBN: 9781554812677 / 1554812674
  • 296 pages; 6½" x 9"

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Critical Thinking – Concise Edition

  • Publication Date: October 23, 2015
  • ISBN: 9781554812677 / 1554812674
  • 296 pages; 6½" x 9"

Critical Thinking is a comprehensive introduction to the essential skills of good reasoning, refined and updated through seven editions published over more than two decades. This concise edition offers a succinct presentation of the essential elements of reasoning that retains the rigor and sophistication of the original text. The authors provide a thorough treatment of such central topics as deductive and inductive reasoning, logical fallacies, how to recognize and avoid ambiguity, and how to distinguish what is relevant from what is not. A companion website provides a range of interesting supplements, including interactive review materials, supplemental readings, and writing tips.

The larger, complete version of Critical Thinking is available in a Canadian edition and an American edition.


Comments on Critical Thinking: An Introduction to the Basic Skills:

“Here is a textbook of lasting value. It is accessible without being over-simplistic. It is unsurpassed in clarity and depth. And its examples, exercises, and questions for discussion offer the student unique and exciting materials for reflection and engagement.” — Ahmad Rahmanian, University of New Brunswick

“This textbook stands out from others for its clarity, which is due in large part to the conceptual organization of the material it covers. Rather than artificially carving out various aspects of critical thinking for individual treatment, the authors simply and carefully develop ideas, step by step. This approach makes clear how various aspects of careful, critical thinking come together, allowing students to develop their skills along the way.” — Joshua Smith, Central Michigan University

“I have been using Hughes (now Hughes & Lavery) since the first edition. I have occasionally tried other texts but have yet to find one I like as much. It has all the essential materials, it’s impeccably organized, and it’s clear and accessible to our students.” — Wayne I. Henry, University of the Fraser Valley

Online Materials


Chapter 1: Reasoning and Critical Thinking

  1. Reasoning
  2. The Concept of Logical Strength
  3. Truth, Logical Strength, and Soundness
  4. Critical Thinking Skills
  5. Critical Thinking and the Science of Logic
  6. Self-Test No. 1
  7. Questions for Discussion


Chapter 2: Meaning and Definition

  1. The Complexity of Language
  2. The Meaning of Language
    1. The Reference Theory of Meaning
    2. The Idea Theory of Meaning
    3. Meaning as Use
  3. The Main Functions of Language
  4. Self-Test No. 2
  5. Questions for Discussion
  6. Definition
  7. The Purposes of Definition
    1. Reportive Definitions
    2. Stipulative Definitions
    3. Essentialist Definitions
  8. Methods of Definition
    1. Genus-Species Method
    2. Ostensive Method
    3. Synonym Method
    4. Operational Method
    5. Contextual Method
  9. Assessing Reportive Definitions
    1. Too Broad a Definition
    2. Too Narrow a Definition
    3. Too Broad and Too Narrow a Definition
    4. Circular Definition
    5. Obscure Definition
  10. Assessing Stipulative and Essentialist Definitions
  11. A Warning
  12. Self-Test No. 3
  13. Questions for Discussion

Chapter 3: Clarifying Meaning

  1. The Principle of Charity
  2. Linguistic Ambiguity
    1. Ambiguity and Vagueness
    2. Referential Ambiguity
    3. Grammatical Ambiguity
    4. Use and Mention
  3. Self-Test No. 4
  4. Analytic, Contradictory, and Synthetic Statements
  5. Self-Test No. 5
  6. Descriptive and Evaluative Meaning
  7. Self-Test No. 6
  8. Necessary and Sufficient Conditions
  9. Self-Test No. 7
  10. Questions for Discussion

Chapter 4: Reconstructing Arguments

  1. Reconstruction
  2. Missing Premises and Conclusions
  3. Self-Test No. 8
  4. Special Cases
    1. Reports of Arguments
    2. Explanations
  5. Self-Test No. 9
  6. The Structure of Arguments
    1. Simple Arguments
    2. T Arguments
    3. V Arguments
    4. Complex Arguments
  7. Self-Test No. 10
  8. Another Warning
  9. Questions for Discussion


Chapter 5: Strategies for Assessing Arguments

  1. The Fallacies Approach
  2. The Criterial Approach
    1. The Three Criteria of a Sound Argument
  3. Seven Rules for Assessing Arguments
    1. Rule 1. Identify the Main Conclusion
    2. Rule 2. Identify the Premises
    3. Rule 3. Identify the Structure of the Argument
    4. Rule 4. Check the Acceptability of the Premises
    5. Rule 5. Check the Relevance of the Premises
    6. Rule 6. Check the Adequacy of the Premises
    7. Rule 7. Look for Counter-Arguments

Chapter 6: Assessing Truth-Claims

  1. Theories of Truth
    1. The Correspondence Theory
    2. The Coherence Theory
    3. The Pragmatic Theory
  2. Types of Truth-Claims
    1. Empirical Truth-Claims
    2. Non-Empirical Truth-Claims
  3. Acceptability
  4. Self-Test No. 11
  5. Questions for Discussion
  6. Assessing the Acceptability of Premises
  7. Some Particular Fallacies
    1. Begging the Question
    2. Inconsistency
    3. Equivocation
    4. False Dichotomy
  8. Self-Test No. 12
  9. Questions for Discussion

Chapter 7: Assessing Relevance

  1. The Criterion of Relevance
  2. Recognizing Irrelevant Premises
  3. Appeals to Authority (1)
  4. Some Particular Fallacies
    1. Ad Hominem
    2. Tu Quoque
    3. Straw Man
  5. Self-Test No. 13
  6. Questions for Discussion

Chapter 8: Assessing Adequacy

  1. The Criterion of Adequacy
  2. Appeals to Authority (2)
  3. Appeals to Anecdotal Evidence
  4. Appeals to Ignorance
  5. The Slippery Slope Fallacy
  6. Causal Fallacies
    1. Post Hoc
    2. Confusing Cause and Effect
    3. Common Cause
  7. Self-Test No. 14
  8. Questions for Discussion

Chapter 9: Deductive Reasoning

  1. The Nature of Deductive Reasoning
  2. Truth-Functional Statements
  3. Formal Validity and Soundness
  4. Valid Argument Forms
  5. Formal Invalidity
  6. Self-Test No. 15
  7. Questions for Discussion

Chapter 10: Inductive Reasoning

  1. The Nature of Inductive Reasoning
  2. Inductive Generalization
  3. Statistical Syllogism
  4. Induction by Confirmation
  5. Analogical Reasoning
  6. Self-Test No. 16
  7. Questions for Discussion

Chapter 11: Arguing Back

  1. Explaining the Weakness
  2. Counter-Examples
  3. Absurd Examples
  4. Counter-Arguments
  5. Self-Test No. 17
  6. Questions for Discussion

Chapter 12: Irrational Techniques of Persuasion

  1. Loaded Terms
  2. Vague Terms
  3. Loaded Questions
  4. False Confidence
  5. Selectivity
  6. Misleading Statistics
  7. Humor
  8. Red Herring
  9. Guilt by Association
  10. Persuasive Redefinition
  11. Self-Test No. 18
  12. Questions for Discussion

Appendix: Answers to Self-Tests



The late William Hughes was Professor and Chair in the Philosophy Department at the University of Guelph.

Jonathan Lavery is Associate Professor of Society, Culture, and Environment at Wilfrid Laurier University, Brantford.

The companion sites include content for both instructors and students.

For instructors, there are notes on the book’s examples, questions for discussion, PowerPoint slides, and numerous additional practice questions (some of which can be uploaded to Learning Management Systems such as Blackboard, Moodle, etc.). An access code to the website is included with all examination copies.

As part of Broadview Online: Critical Thinking students can access an additional 167 review questions and glossary flashcards divided by chapter, writing tips, and a curated selection of online readings addressing issues of interest to critical thinkers. An access code to the website is included with all new copies. If you purchased a used copy or are missing your passcode for this site, please click here to purchase a code online.

For a sample chapter of Critical Thinking Concise Edition, click here (opens as a PDF).

Critical Thinking – Concise Edition is available as a digital courseware package on the Broadview Enhanced platform. This package combines the eBook with a set of auto-grading quizzes that integrate directly with your campus Learning Management System (LMS), such as Blackboard, D2L, or Moodle. This product is ideal for Inclusive Access and other First Day programs.

If you are interested in adopting this title as a Broadview Enhanced package, or you just want to learn more about the platform, please write to

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