Critical Thinking: An Introduction to the Basic Skills – Seventh Edition
  • Publication Date: December 4, 2014
  • ISBN: 9781554811977 / 155481197X
  • 488 pages; 6½" x 9"

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Critical Thinking: An Introduction to the Basic Skills – Seventh Edition

  • Publication Date: December 4, 2014
  • ISBN: 9781554811977 / 155481197X
  • 488 pages; 6½" x 9"

For the Canadian edition, click hereA concise edition of Critical Thinking is also available here.

Critical Thinking is a comprehensive and accessible introduction to the essential skills of good reasoning. 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. Later chapters discuss the application of critical thinking skills to particular topics and tasks, including scientific reasoning, moral reasoning, legal reasoning, media analysis, and essay writing. The book also provides complimentary access to a companion website containing additional questions, flashcards, and other useful critical thinking resources.


“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 cannot think of a better introduction to critical thinking that does not compromise philosophical rigor. … 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.” — 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

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: Scientific Reasoning

  1. Causation / Correlation
  2. Mill’s Methods
    1. Method of Agreement
    2. Method of Difference
    3. Joint Method of Agreement and Difference
    4. Method of Concomitant Variations
    5. Method of Residue
  3. Self-Test No. 17
  4. Inference to the Best Explanation
    1. Choosing between Rival Restricted Hypotheses
    2. Choosing between Rival Unrestricted Hypotheses
  5. Case for Discussion: Semmelweis’s Discovery of Antisepsis

Chapter 12: Moral Reasoning

  1. Moral Judgments and Judgments of Taste
  2. Moral Justification
  3. Appeals to Principles of Right and Wrong
  4. Self-Test No. 18
  5. Questions for Discussion
  6. Appeals to Consequences
  7. Self-Test No. 19
  8. Questions for Discussion
  9. Rational Agreement
  10. Moral Maturity
  11. Questions for Discussion

Chapter 13: Legal Reasoning

  1. Criteria and Evidence in Legal Contests
    1. Evidence of Facts, and the Interpretation of Law
    2. Admissible Evidence and the Application of Law
    3. Legal Authority and Legal Procedure
  2. Criminal Adjudication
  3. Self-Test No. 20
  4. Questions for Discussion
  5. Civil Adjudication
  6. Self-Test No. 21
  7. Questions for Discussion

Chapter 14: Arguing Back

  1. Explaining the Weakness
  2. Counter-Examples
  3. Absurd Examples
  4. Counter-Arguments
  5. Self-Test No. 22
  6. Questions for Discussion

Chapter 15: 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. 23
  12. Questions for Discussion

Chapter 16: Critiquing the Media

  1. Determining Bias
  2. Is Objective Reporting Possible?
  3. How to Assess News Reports
    1. Assessing Factual Claims
    2. Assessing Interpretive Frameworks
  4. Another Warning
  5. Questions for Discussion

Chapter 17: Writing and Assessing Argumentative Essays

  1. Writing Argumentative Essays: Structure
  2. Writing Argumentative Essays: Style
  3. Assessing Argumentative Essays
    1. First Phase
    2. Second Phase
    3. Third Phase
  4. Assessment of a Sample Argumentative Essay
    1. First Phase
    2. Second Phase
    3. Third Phase
  5. Question for Discussion

Chapter 18: Strategies for Organizing an Argumentative Essay

  1. Advocate’s Strategy
  2. Skeptic’s Strategy
  3. Impartial Adjudicator’s Strategy
  4. Questions for Discussion

Appendix I: Paradoxes and Puzzles

  1. Logical Paradoxes
  2. Puzzles
  3. Solutions to the Puzzles

Appendix II: Answers to Self-Tests


Permission Acknowlegments


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.

Katheryn Doran is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Hamilton College.

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 7th Edition, click here (opens as a PDF).

Critical Thinking: An Introduction to the Basic Skills 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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