Critical Thinking: Consider the Verdict (4th Edition)

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9780130896032: Critical Thinking: Consider the Verdict (4th Edition)

For undergraduate-level courses in Critical Thinking, Informal Logic, General Logic, and Critical Writing (typically taught by English Departments), as well as introductory or advanced argumentation courses. Organized around lively and authentic examples drawn from jury trials, contemporary political and social debate, and advertising, this introduction to critical thinking shows students not only how to detect fallacies, but also how to examine, appreciate, and construct cogent arguments. Accessible and reader friendly--yet thorough and rigorous--it shows them how to integrate all their logic skills into the critical decision-making process they undertake in their own lives as citizens and consumers.

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From the Inside Flap:

Preface

Critical thinking is a valuable skill: whether you are deciding what toothpaste to use or what stocks to buy; which job to pursue or which courses you should take; what candidate to vote for or what cause to support; or which reports to believe and which claims to reject. But one of the most important places for careful critical thinking is in the jury room. Serving on a jury is one of the most significant and basic ways that citizens actively participate in their government, and effective jury sevice requires a great deal of citizens. Jurors must set aside any biases and judge the issues fairly; they must reason carefully about what laws are involved, and how those laws apply to the particulars of the case at hand; they must evaluate testimony, and weigh both its accuracy and its relevance; they must give a fair hearing to both sides, distinguish sound from erroneous arguments, and ultimately reach a just and reasonable conclusion.

The courtroom demands a high level of critical thinking skill, and it is also a fascinating place for studying the key elements of critical thinking: determining exactly what the conclusion is and who bears the burden of proving it; separating false claims from reliable information; and distinguishing between erroneous and compelling arguments. The skills that make you an effective juror will also make you an intelligent consumer, an effective planner, and a wise citizen.

Critical Thinking: Consider the Verdict, Fourth Edition uses the jury room as the focus for developing basic skills in critical thinking, but it does not stop there. Those skills are also applied to the various arguments and issues that arise in our daily lives as consumers, students, investors, planners, and citizens. Thus, while the courtroom provides the overall framework, most of the exercises and examples are drawn from advertisements, social debates, political campaigns, and editorials. Critical thinking skills are valuable in the jury room, but they are also valuable in the classroom, the boardroom, the laboratory, and the shopping mall.

This book provides a solid and substantial introduction to critical thinking, and Chapters 8 and 9 offer instruction in symbolic logic. Chapters 8 and 9 are self-contained, and you may do either or both at any point. If you wish to concentrate on informal logic, you may skip Chapters 8 and 9 altogether. The boxed exercises and examples scattered throughout the text are not essential to understanding the chapters, but they do present some interesting material and challenging questions. You can skip them, but you'll miss a lot of the fun.

From the Back Cover:

Readers learn to analyze, understand, and construct the sound arguments that are vital to our lives as citizens and consumers, jurors and voters. The author also explains how to detect argument errors and deceptions.

The Fourth Edition features:

  • extensive new material throughout
  • an entirely new chapter on thinking critically with statistics
  • dozens of exercises from criminal and civil trials, Supreme Court decisions, and contemporary social debates.

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