The Elements of Arguments: An Introduction to Critical Thinking and Logic
  • Publication Date: April 11, 2019
  • ISBN: 9781554814077 / 1554814073
  • 336 pages; 6½" x 9"

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The Elements of Arguments: An Introduction to Critical Thinking and Logic

  • Publication Date: April 11, 2019
  • ISBN: 9781554814077 / 1554814073
  • 336 pages; 6½" x 9"

The Elements of Arguments introduces such central critical thinking topics as informal fallacies, the difference between validity and truth, basic formal propositional logic, and how to extract arguments from texts. Turetzky aims to prevent common confusions by clearly explaining a number of important distinctions, including propositions vs. propositional attitudes, propositions vs. states of affairs, and logic vs. rhetoric vs. psychology. Exercises are provided throughout, including numerous informal arguments that can be assessed using the skills and strategies presented within the text.


“Compared to other books in this area I find The Elements of Arguments to be near the top in quality. In terms of teaching to a diverse group of students from varying backgrounds and with different abilities, I find it to be exceptional. The author is extremely sensitive to traditional problems and confusions that surround the subject making it a challenge to teach. He has given the higher education community a standard of the highest caliber with admirable benefit to the students we serve.” — Dennis Brandon, California State University, Northridge

“In a crowded field of introductory texts, The Elements of Arguments stands out. Turetzky has achieved in one volume an admirably clear presentation of both ‘critical thinking’ and ‘logic’ as distinct but overlapping disciplines. Instructors will benefit greatly from the book’s lucid definitions, careful distinctions, and abundant exercises. Students will find their reading rewarded with varied and accessible examples as well as insightful sections relating logic to other fields such as psychology, rhetoric, and the philosophy of language. Using this text, students will be well prepared to handle reasoning and arguments in any subject.” — Tyler Will, Colorado State University

Introduction for Students
Introduction for Instructors


Part I: Arguments

Part II: Some Types of Arguments and Standards of Evaluation

  • (A) Standards for Evaluating Arguments
  • (B) Standards for Evaluating Deductive Arguments
  • (C) Non-Deductive Arguments and Their Standards of Evaluation


Part I: Truth and Falsity of Propositions

Part II: Identifying Propositions

  • (A) Truth and Falsity: Propositions Are Always about Something
  • (B) Propositions and Attitudes
  • (C) Logic and Psychology
  • (D) Facts and Opinions

Part III: Logic and Rhetoric

  • (A) The Importance of Logic and Critical Thinking
  • (B) Persuasive Language

Part IV: Informal Fallacies

  • (A) Appeals to Motives or Emotion in Place of Support
  • (B) Appeal to Authority
  • (C) Attacking the Person: Ad hominem Arguments
  • (D) The Subjectivist Fallacy (or Relativist Fallacy)

Exercises: Informal Fallacies


Part I: Logical Negation

Part II: Logical Conjunction

  • Informal Fallacy: Complex Question

Part III: Logical Disjunction

  • Informal Fallacy: False Dilemma

Part IV: Truth Functional Conditionals

  • (A) Various Uses of Conditionals
  • (B) Truth Functional Conditionals
  • (C) Necessary and Sufficient Conditions
  • (D) Identifying Conditionals
  • (E) Truth Functional Biconditionals and Definitions
  • (F) Informal Fallacy: Slippery Slope

Summary of the Logical Operator and Logical Connectives: Their Symbols, Rules, and Truth Tables


Appendix: Valid Forms of Categorical Syllogisms


Part I: Definitions of Some Logical Relations

  • (A) Logically Inconsistent Propositions
  • (B) Tautologies, Logically Consistent Propositions, and Contingent Propositions
  • (C) Logical Implication
  • (D) Logical Equivalence

Part II: Modal Concepts

  • (A) Modal Concepts and Logical Relations
  • (B) Implications among Modalities
  • (C) Different Types of Possibility and Impossibility

Part III: Informal Fallacies of Equivocation

Exercises: Informal Fallacies


Part I: Argument Forms

Part II: Testing for Validity

  • (A) Using Truth Tables to Determine Validity
  • (B) A Shorter Procedure for Determining Validity
  • (C) Some Standard Argument Forms
  • (D) Testing the Validity of More Complex Argument Forms

Part III: From Validity to Soundness

  • (A) Providing Arguments That Support the Premises of an Argument
  • (B) Assessing Unsupported Premises
  • (C) Accepting an Argument’s Premises Provisionally as Suppositions

Exercises: Tests of Validity

Appendix: The Validity of the Argument Forms for Testing the Adequacy of Definitional Propositions


Part I: Identifying Arguments

Part II: Diagramming the Flow of Premises and Conclusions

Part III: Principles of Interpretation: Enthymemes

  • Informal Fallacy: The Straw Man Fallacy
  • Steps for Argument Analysis

Part IV: Argument Assessment Strategies

  • (A) Assessing the Validity of Arguments in Ordinary English
  • (B) Assessing Inductive Arguments

Exercises: Complete Argument Analyses

Philip Turetzky taught philosophy at Colorado State University, the University of South Dakota, Ripon College, and other post-secondary institutions. He is the author of Time (Routledge, 1998) and numerous academic articles.

  • — A rigorous introduction to logic and critical thinking.
  • — Emphasizes the importance of clarity with regard to potentially–misleading conceptual distinctions such as propositions vs. propositional attitudes and logic vs. rhetoric.
  • — Introduces the basic elements of formal logic, including truth tables and their use in the assessment of deductive arguments.
  • — Exercises are provided throughout the book, with solutions available to instructors.
  • — A separate website offers instructors a substantial collection of additional exercises and solutions.