Good Reasons for Better Arguments: An Introduction to the Skills and Values of Critical Thinking
This text introduces university students to the philosophical ethos of critical thinking, as well as to the essential skills required to practice it. The authors believe that Critical Thinking should engage students with issues of broader philosophical interest while they develop their skills in reasoning and argumentation. The text is informed throughout by philosophical theory concerning argument and communication—from Aristotle’s recognition of the importance of evaluating argument in terms of its purpose to Habermas’s developing of the concept of communicative rationality. The authors’ treatment of the topic is also sensitive to the importance of language and of situation in shaping arguments, and to the necessity in argument of some interplay between reason and emotion. Unlike many other texts in this area, then, Good Reasons for Better Arguments helps to explain both why argument is important and how the social role of argument plays an important part in determining what counts as a good argument.
If this text is distinctive in the extent to which it deals with the theory and the values of critical thinking, it is also noteworthy for the thorough grounding it provides in the skills of deductive and inductive reasoning; the authors present the reader with useful tools for the interpretation, evaluation and construction of arguments. A particular feature is the inclusion of a wide range of exercises, rich with examples that illuminate the practice of argument for the student. Many of the exercises are self testing, with answers provided at the back of the text; others are appropriate for in-class discussion and assignments. Challenging yet accessible, Good Reasons for Better Arguments brings a fresh perspective to an essential subject.
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Answers to Selected Exercises
Procedure for Standardizing Complex Arguments