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This highly popular book helps readers bridge the gap between simply memorizing or blindly accepting information, and the greater challenge of critical analysis and synthesis. It teaches them to respond to alternative points of view and develop a solid foundation for making personal choices about what to accept and what to reject. KEY TOPICS Specific chapter topics include the benefit of asking the right questions, issues and conclusions, reasons, ambiguous words or phrases, value conflicts and assumptions, descriptive assumptions, fallacies in reasoning, measuring the validity the evidence, rival causes, deceptive statistics, omitted significant information, and possible reasonable conclusions. For individuals seeking to improve their critical thinking capabilities.
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Prentice Hall is proud to bring you the seventh edition of this highly successful critical thinking guide. In addition to the revisions in the text, we have thoroughly revised the Companion Website™ at www.prenhall.com/browne. This free resource for students now includes:
Getting Started passages. These exercises will consist of 1 to 2 sentence arguments for early chapters, moving to longer passages as the chapters progress. This is to help the student practice his or her argument skills.
Web Destinations. The site will include content specific links for each chapter, giving students the opportunity to do research and discover more information on the concepts presented in the text.
Frequently Asked Questions for each chapter. This resource will provide a list of common questions and answers about the material covered in the text.
Model Student Papers. This Website will provide model papers so students can view the elements of a good argument paper, how it's written, its appearance, and its purpose.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
As a book ages, it becomes less and less the product of its original authors. The success of Asking the Right Questions: A Guide to Critical Thinking is a tribute to the sound advice we have received from the many readers who thought we could do better next time around and who told us so. In fact, one of our biggest challenges has been to pick and choose from among the suggestions.
Always uppermost in our mind has been the desire to retain the primary attributes of Asking the Right Questions, while adjusting to new emphases in our own thought and the evolving needs of our readers. For instance, while we can always think of dozens of additions that would, we believe, enhance new editions of Asking the Right Questions, we want most of all to keep the book readable and short. We are willing to pay the price of omitting several things that would be apposite in a more weighty treatment of critical thinking because those who adopt or learn from Asking the Right Questions have noted the crispness and cohesion of our approach so frequently. Individual readers who do not see their suggestions included will surely understand that writing for a general audience requires us to omit many valuable components that we would certainly include were we writing for a more specialized group of readers.
This new edition, like its predecessors, has been modified while retaining basic framework of a simplified guide to critical thinking. Several new practice passages have been inserted. In addition, we have completely rewritten the fallacies chapter to make it more coherent and to provide new illustrations. But what is particularly fresh about the seventh edition are three new foci:
Learning critical thinking is neither simple nor easy. But even after critical thinking has been learned to some degree, there is still the challenge of desiring to use a process that can often be seen as rude, mean, or arrogant. None of us wishes to exhibit habits of mind that brand us as obnoxious. Yet at the same time, we do not want to base our behavior solely on the reactions of others to it; otherwise, we would just be a puppet of the crowd.
So we need to frame critical thinking in a manner that emphasizes its role in assisting us to make decisions that are both more reflective and caring as well. We learn critical thinking to be helpful to ourselves and to others. Critical thinking prevents us from courses of action that are inconsistent with whom we want to become. In addition, it assists others who are seeking beliefs and commitments built on relatively sound structures of reasoning. In those regards, critical thinking can be an act of friendship, moving others toward more reasonable beliefs and actions. The seventh edition tries to make that point in several contexts.
The second new focus in this edition is based on the fear that learning individual steps in any process can prevent our appreciation of the power of the entire process wherein all the steps are used in tandem. Asking the Right Questions builds the critical-thinking process one step at a time; each chapter introduces a particular critical-thinking skill. Subsequent chapters then add to the list of accumulating critical-thinking skills. But the entire rationale for learning the steps of critical thinking is to get ready to use them as a package, a cohesive assemblage of complementary abilities. Using the entire process of critical thinking is the most rewarding pathway to finding better arguments.
Finally, one thing that our readers request again and again are more practice materials. We are working with Prentice Hall to respond to that request with this new edition. The Web site for Asking the Right Questions will be organized by chapter and contain practice passages of varying size. In addition, learners also need to see arguments that are relatively strong. Critical thinking can move someone toward cynicism as she or he learns more about the multiple problems that can haunt daily reasoning. Hence, the Web site contains a lengthy, relatively strong argument concerning the efficacy of student evaluations of teaching. We want to highlight on the site what is particularly strong about this argument, to provide readers a model of what is possible when someone tries to reason well.
In addition, we wanted to provide on the Web site an illustration of critical analysis that is more realistic than the one provided in the final chapter. While agreeing with the appropriateness of the final chapter as a culmination of the algorithmic process of asking the right questions, several readers have urged us to provide a more realistic illustration. As they correctly point out, it is highly unrealistic to expect to see what is modeled in Chapter 14. We agree.
These new directions of Asking the Right Questions are meant to improve what our readers have told us they most want, a book that helps students toward reasonable autonomy. The success of previous editions of this book is potent testimony to our collective curiosity about what to believe. Our minds are under assault by experts and scam artists alike. Sorting among all their claims about what to eat, do, and believe is an incredibly difficult responsibility. We know that we need all the help we can get to protect ourselves from the dangers implicit in nonsense. We want to think carefully before we make a belief our own.
From the start of this book's history, we have been motivated by a variety of personal experiences and observations. First, we have been dismayed by the degree to which students and citizens in general increasingly depend on "experts," textbook writers, teachers, lawyers, politicians, journalists, and TV commentators. As the complexity of the world seems to increase at an accelerating rate, there is a greater tendency to become passive absorbers of information, uncritically accepting what is seen and heard. We are concerned that too many of us are not actively making personal choices about what to accept and what to reject.
Thus, the need for such a book is now even more pronounced. The use of "sound bites," the popularity of simplistic arguments, and the amount of information to which we are exposed every day have all increased dramatically. To encourage us all to use critical thinking more frequently as an antidote to this "information explosion" is our dream for Asking the Right Questions.
Our experience in teaching critical-thinking skills to our students over a number of years has convinced us that when individuals with diverse abilities are taught these skills in a simplified format, they can learn to apply them successfully. In the process, they develop greater confidence in their ability to make rational choices about social issues, even those with which they have formerly had little experience.
Thus, we have written a text that does a number of things that other books have failed to do. This text develops an integrated series of question-asking skills that can be applied widely. These skills are discussed in an informal style. (We have written to a general audience, not to any specialized group.)
The development of Asking the Right Questions has leaned heavily on our joint experience of 60 years as teachers of critical thinking. Our ideas have evolved in response to numerous classroom experiences with students at many different levels, from freshman to Ph.D. students.
These experiences have taught us certain emphases that are particularly effective in learning critical thinking. For instance, we provide many opportunities for the readers to apply their skills and to receive immediate feedback following the practice application. The book is replete with examples of writing devoted to controversial contemporary topics. The breadth of topics introduces the average reader to numerous controversies with which he or she may have little familiarity. The book is coherently organized, in that critical questions are discussed sequentially as the reader progresses from understanding to evaluating. In addition, it integrates cognitive and value dimensions—a very important aspect of critical thinking and personal decision making.
One feature that deserves to be highlighted is the applicability of Asking the Right Questions to numerous life experiences extending far beyond the classroom. The habits and attitudes associated with critical thinking are transferable to consumer, medical, legal, and general ethical choices. When our surgeon says surgery is needed, it can be life sustaining to seek answers to critical questions.
Who would find Asking the Right Questions especially beneficial? Because of our teaching experiences with readers representing many different levels of ability, we have difficulty envisioning any academic course or program for which this book would not be useful. In fact, the first five editions have been used in law, English, pharmacy, philosophy, education, psychology, sociology, religion, and social science courses, as well as in numerous high school classrooms.
A few uses for the book seem especially appropriate. Teachers in general education programs may want to begin their courses by assigning it as a coherent response to their students' requests to explain what is expected of them. English courses that emphasize expository writing could use this text both as a format for evaluating arguments prior to constructing an essay and as a checklist of problems that the writer should attempt to avoid as he or she writes. The book is especially functional in courses for training prospective teachers and gr...
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Book Description Prentice Hall, 2003. Paperback. Condition: New. 7. Seller Inventory # DADAX0131829939
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