The Critical Thinking Book
  • Publication Date: March 8, 2022
  • ISBN: 9781554813933 / 155481393X
  • 600 pages; 8" x 10"

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The Critical Thinking Book

  • Publication Date: March 8, 2022
  • ISBN: 9781554813933 / 155481393X
  • 600 pages; 8" x 10"

The Critical Thinking Book covers not only standard topics such as definitions, fallacies, and argument identification, but also other pertinent themes such as consumer choice in a market economy and political choice in a representative democracy. Interesting historical asides are included throughout, as are images, diagrams, and reflective questions. A wealth of exercises is provided, both within the text and on a supplemental website for instructors.


“Gary James Jason has pulled off something that I have long hoped for—one book that covers all the necessary components of critical thinking. This text offers such a range of methods and approaches that it gives instructors choice as to how to map out their courses. I find the Concept Maps, thought questions, and historical accounts of important thinkers to be great supplements to the main text. The author uses cool examples such as dialogues and advertisements, and these visual components make the book fun and engaging for students.” — Jacqueline Alvarez, California State University, Fresno

The Critical Thinking Book is an excellent choice for courses in critical thinking, rhetoric, and informal logic. The cross-disciplinary approach is engaging, and the contemporary examples from fields such as marketing and politics will hold the reader’s attention. Students will benefit considerably from the abundant exercises and the Concept Map in each chapter. This is a text that instructors will want to use and students will want to read.” — Jeff Lawrence, North Island College

The Critical Thinking Book provides remarkably thorough coverage of the main topics in this field. As a critical thinking instructor, I have been looking for a text that strikes a balance between formal and informal reasoning; Jason's book does this well, as it is comprehensive in its coverage without being overly technical.” — Tuomas Manninen, Arizona State University


Part One: The Elements of Critical Thinking: Statements, Questions, Arguments, Cases, and Dialogues

  • Chapter 1: Critical Thinking: Developing an Effective Worldview
    • 1. Critical Thinking and Mental Models
    • 2. Clarity and Consistency
    • 3. Relevance
    • 4. Justification and Explanatory/Predictive Power
    • 5. The Usefulness of Critical Thinking
    • 6. Impediments to Critical Thinking
    • 7. Critical Thinking as an Academic Discipline
    • 8. The Organization of This Book
  • Chapter 2: Assertions
    • 1. Assertions and Sentences
    • 2. Statement Forms: Simple and Compound
    • 3. Statement Forms: Particular and General
    • 4. Statement Content: Necessary versus Contingent
    • 5. Statement Content: Descriptive versus Evaluative
  • Chapter 3: Questions
    • 1. Questions and Sentences
    • 2. Types of Questions
    • 3. Responsive Answers
    • 4. Fallacies of Questions
  • Chapter 4: Identifying Single Arguments
    • 1. Premises and Conclusions
    • 2. Identifying Single Arguments: Rhetorical Devices
    • 3. Identifying Single Arguments: Rhetorical Expansion
    • 4. Identifying Single Arguments: Rhetorical Compression
    • 5. Telling Arguments from Other Things
    • 6. The Uses of Arguments
    • 7. Two Types of Evidential Relations
    • 8. Deductive Argument Forms
    • 9. Inductive Argument Forms and the IBE
  • Chapter 5: Multiple Arguments, Cases, and Dialogues
    • 1. Diagramming Multiple Arguments
    • 2. The Case Structure
    • 3. The IBE as a Compressed Case
    • 4. Dialogues

Part Two: The Goals of Critical Thinking: Clarity, Relevance, Consistency, Justification, and Explanatory Power

  • Chapter 6: Pitfalls of Language
    • 1. Pitfalls of Language
    • 2. Verbosity and Jargon
    • 3. Vagueness
    • 4. Loaded Language and Circular Argument
    • 5. Understatement and Overstatement
    • 6. Ambiguity
    • 7. Synonymy
    • 8. Figurative Language
    • 9. Review of Major Fallacies Discussed so Far
  • Chapter 7: Definition, Classification, and Concept Mapping
    • 1. Three Tools for Organizing Thought and Clarifying Language
    • 2. Types of Definition
    • 3. Sense and Reference
    • 4. Methods of Definition
    • 5. Rules for Explicit Definitions
    • 6. Analogical Definition
    • 7. Classification
    • 8. Concept Mapping
  • Chapter 8: Topical Relevance
    • 1. Relevance and Questions
    • 2. Fallacies of Refusing to Answer
    • 3. Fallacies of Irrelevant Emotional Appeal
    • 4. Fallacies of Ignoring the Issue
    • 5. How to Explain Fallacies of Relevance
    • 6. Review of the Major Fallacies Discussed so Far
  • Chapter 9: Deductive Reasoning I: Truth-Functional Logic
    • 1. Two Types of Consistency
    • 2. Cognitive Dissonance Theory
    • 3. Basic Concepts of Deductive Logic
    • 4. Truth Table Calculations
    • 5. Symbolization
    • 6. Truth Table Testing for Consistency
    • 7. Truth Table Testing for Implication and Validity
    • 8. Truth Table Testing for Other Deductive Concepts
    • 9. Summary
  • Chapter 10: Deductive Reasoning II: Class Logic
    • 1. A Closer Look at Statements
    • 2. Statements Involving Two Classes
    • 3. Venn Testing for Consistency
    • 4. Venn Testing for Implication and Validity
    • 5. Venn Testing for Other Concepts
    • 6. Summary of Concepts
    • 7. The Limitations of Truth-Functional and Class Logic
  • Chapter 11: Inductive Reasoning I: Observation, Memory, and Testimony
    • 1. Sensing, Observing, and Reporting
    • 2. Assessing Observation
    • 3. Special Issues Concerning Observation in Natural Science
    • 4. Assessing Memory
    • 5. Assessing Eyewitness Testimony
    • 6. Assessing Expert Testimony
    • 7. The Fallacy of Faulty Appeal to Authority
    • 8. Special Issues Concerning Expert Testimony in Journalism
    • 9. Special Issues Concerning Expert Testimony in Legal Proceedings
    • 10. Observation, Memory, and Testimony as IBE and CBE
  • Chapter 12: Inductive Reasoning II: Inductive Generalization and Inductive Instantiation
    • 1. The Pervasiveness of Inductive Generalization
    • 2. Criteria for Assessing Generalizations
    • 3. The Fallacy of Faulty Generalization
    • 4. Defeasibility and General Rules
    • 5. The Statistical Syllogism
    • 6. The Fallacy of Faulty Instantiation
    • 7. A Common Confusion
    • 8. Inductive Generalization and Inductive Instantiation as IBE and CBE
    • 9. Stereotypes and Prejudice
  • Chapter 13: Inductive Reasoning III: Analogies
    • 1. The Uses of Analogy
    • 2. Descriptive and Definitional Analogies
    • 3. Assessing Analogical Arguments
    • 4. The Heuristic Use of Analogies
    • 5. Models in Science
    • 6. Analogies in Legal Reasoning
    • 7. Analogical Arguments as IBE and CBE
  • Chapter 14: Inductive Reasoning IV: Causal Inference
    • 1. The Relation of Cause and Effect
    • 2. Evidence for Causal Claims: Temporal and Statistical Linkages
    • 3. Establishing Deterministic Causes
    • 4. A More Formal Approach to Causal Reasoning
    • 5. Establishing Statistical Causes
    • 6. Special Issues in Medical and Pharmaceutical Research
    • 7. The Fallacy of Faulty Causal Reasoning
    • 8. Causal Inference as IBE and CBE
    • 9. Review of the Five Inductive Fallacies
    • 10. Review of All of the Previous Major Fallacies
  • Chapter 15: Inductive Reasoning V: Explanation, Hypothesis, and Prediction
    • 1. Key Concepts
    • 2. Types of Explanation
    • 3. A Closer Look at Causal Explanations
    • 4. Rules for Forming Hypotheses
    • 5. Rules for Assessing Hypotheses

Part Three: Applications of Critical Thinking: Decisions in a Democratic Market Economy

  • Chapter 16: Classical Decision Theory: Its Uses and Problems
    • 1. Utility and Preferences
    • 2. Decision under Certainty: The Rational Choice Model
    • 3. Decision under Risk
    • 4. Decision under Uncertainty
    • 5. Decision under Conflict
    • 6. Challenges to Classical Decision Theory I: Several Narrow Criticisms
    • 7. Challenges to Classical Decision Theory II: The Opacity of Costs and Benefits
    • 8. Challenges to Classical Decision Theory III: Behavioral Decision Theory
    • 9. Challenges to Classical Decision Theory IV: Manipulation by Others
  • Chapter 17: Application I: Rational versus Irrational Marketing
    • 1. Two Main Branches of Rhetoric
    • 2. When Is Marketing Rational?
    • 3. Why Is Marketing so Often Irrational?
    • 4. Psychological Mechanisms Exploited by Marketing Agents
    • 5. Examples of Irrational Marketing Techniques
    • 6. Special Issues in Advertising to Children
    • 7. How to Combat Deceptive Marketing
  • Chapter 18: Application II: Rational versus Irrational Propaganda
    • 1. Political Agents and Propaganda
    • 2. Is Deceptive Propaganda More Prevalent Than Deceptive Marketing?
    • 3. Examples of Irrational Propaganda Techniques
    • 4. How to Combat Deceptive Propaganda
    • 5. Propaganda in a Dictatorship
  • Chapter 19: Application III: Science versus Pseudo-Science
    • 1. Healthy Science versus Pseudo-Science
    • 2. Symptoms of Pseudo-Science
    • 3. First Example of Pseudo-Science: Astrology
    • 4. Second Example of Pseudo-Science: Lysenkoism
    • 5. A Borderline Case



Permissions Acknowledgments

Gary James Jason is a Senior Lecturer at California State University, Fullerton, where he was given a “Best Teaching Award” at the Irvine campus and an “Outstanding Lecturer Award” at the main campus.

  • • A thorough introduction to central topics of critical thinking such as argument identification, definition, and fallacies.
  • • Extensive coverage of deductive reasoning (including class logic and truth-functional logic with truth tables) and inductive reasoning (including analogies, causal inferences, and hypotheses).
  • • Later chapters discuss the application of reasoning to the analysis of marketing, propaganda, and pseudo-science.
  • • Explores topics from a multi-disciplinary perspective, using informal logic, formal logic, erotetic logic, cognitive psychology, legal studies, statistics, and scientific methods.
  • • Gives a central role to questions as the drivers of interactive dialogue and research.
  • • Full colour images and design make the book visually appealing and enjoyable to read.
  • • Several types of boxed inserts offer historical context and fascinating asides; these include:
    • o Important Thinkers — profiles of the lives and work of intellectual luminaries such as George Orwell, Sandra Harding, and Vivien Thomas.
    • o Notorious Events — examination of tragedies such as the Jonestown massacre and the effects of the Anti-Vaxx movement, which illustrate the dangers of reasoning gone astray.
    • o Historical Notes — observations on Stoic logic, Charles Darwin, and more.
    • o Questionable Contributions — critical discussion of influential historical figures whose impact is morally or rationally dubious, such as Nostradamus and Leni Riefenstahl.
  • • Numerous exercises are provided throughout the text, including multiple choice questions as well as ideas for additional projects requiring the active application of critical thinking concepts.
  • • Each chapter ends with a Concept Map, which serves as a visual summary of the connections between the various ideas and terms that have been introduced.
  • • A student companion website provides answers to the even-numbered questions contained within the text.
  • • An instructor companion website provides answers to both even- and odd-numbered questions, as well as additional questions for use as quizzes or homework.
  • • The author offers additional exercises, videos, and other teaching and study materials at These resources can also be integrated with any Canvas-based Learning Management System for automated assessment and ease of access. (Note that these resources are not created by or controlled by Broadview Press).

To read a sample from chapter 1 of The Critical Thinking Book click here.