Critical Reasoning: A Romp Through the Foothills of Logic

Want to learn how to reason critically? Here’s a book to help:

Critical Reasoning: A Romp Through the Foothills of Logic by Marianne Talbot

Critical Reasoning: A Romp Through the Foothills of Logic by Marianne Talbot

This is available as an e-book from Amazon, or from Apple’s iBooks. It is also available in paperback here.

The book was written because so many people asked me to write it, having seen my Critical Reasoning podcasts. It is aimed at complete beginners, although the two final chapters take those who are interested a bit further (into the rudiments of formal logic).

The book includes lots of interactive exercises on recognising, analysing and evaluating arguments, and distinguishing deductive arguments from inductive arguments. It has a chapter on common fallacies (bad arguments that look like good arguments), and two chapters on formalising arguments (which you can ignore if that is not your bag!)

The book links to my Critical Reasoning podcasts and also the new series ‘A Romp Through the Foothills of Formal Logic‘. This latest series contains audio podcasts made at an OUDCE weekend school on Formal Logic for Beginners, supplemented by a set of four short videos in which I explain carefully, and demonstrate, things that I know people have trouble with.

A careful reading of this book will ensure that you are able to:

  • understand what an argument is;
  • recognise arguments;
  • analyse arguments;
  • distinguish deductive arguments from inductive arguments;
  • evaluate inductive and deductive arguments;
  • understand the rudiments of formalisation;
  • apply the rules of propositional logic;
  • understand formal and informal fallacies.

I am publishing this book myself. But that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been thoroughly peer-reviewed, edited and proof-read. My grateful thanks for the peer-reviewing go to several volunteers from Oxford’s Faculty of Philosophy and others from OUDCE’s panel of part-time tutors, and a couple of professional philosopher friends. Chris Wood made all the widgets for the interactive exercises – I’m sure you’ll agree he has done a stunning job. John Clare’s retirement as education editor of a national newspaper left him free to edit the book, and Bill Radcliffe, Chris Reason and Dominic la Hausse de Lalouviere were demon proofreaders!

Post-Publication Bugs

The Kindle (Amazon) version, when it first came out, had some formatting problems that we have since ironed out. If you bought yours before we got rid of the bugs you only have to sync your Kindle to get the new version.

I have also since discovered that Kindle does not distribute in Singapore! I apologise to my Singapore readers (or potential readers). The paperback version should be available for such readers.

Chris Wood says there are ways of getting round this if you would really like the e-book:

“Sometimes just setting your country (on the Amazon web site goto Manage Your Kindle->Settings) works, if that does not then you will need to use a VPN (virtual private network) which will disguise your IP address so Amazon doesnt know where you are. There are many guides on how to achieve this (search on google) on the net (note most of them discuss purchasing an Amazon gift card – this is not necessary if you have a UK/US credit card).”

Let me know if you are a Singapore reader and succeed in doing this.

If you buy the book and like it (or even if you don’t like it!) I should be delighted if you would write a review for either iBooks or Amazon.

If you’d like to read a shorter sample of my writing on Critical Reasoning, and you subscribe to the magazine Philosophy Now, here is my article in Philosophy Now (January 2015)


30 Responses to Critical Reasoning: A Romp Through the Foothills of Logic

  1. Mark Matcott says:

    Hi Marianne. Well done with the website. I am recommending it to all my students. Have you seen ‘Asking the Right Questions’ by M Neil Browne and Stuart M Keely. It’s pretty good for getting students to see intelligence in terms of questioning, not just answers.

    • Marianne says:

      Thank you Mark. I shall look forward to welcoming your students. I haven’t seen either of the books you mention, but am happy to have the recommendations,as I’m sure, will be everyone who reads this.

  2. Bravo Marianne! Have you a system in place for pre-orders for your book? I would recommend it.

    • Marianne says:

      I shall not be selling books actually from the site Sarah. Instead there will be a link to Amazon and the iStore. Doesn’t that make a pre-order useless? If not I shall investigate forthwith! Thank you for the suggestion. Thank you also for the ‘bravo’!

  3. Great Job, Marianne. I hope this is also available in Indonesia territory. Wish this also be provided in Bahasa Indonesia. Congrats!

    • Marianne says:

      I hope the website is available everywhere Bangbidik (is that your first name?). Or do you mean the book? That’ll also be available everywhere I hope, as it is an e-book. Do let me know if you have problems. Glad you like the website.

  4. Martin Rushton says:

    Hi Marianne. What about people who do not have Apple products or Kindle? Will there be a PDF version or something comparable?

    • Marianne says:

      There will be a kindle version – coming out any time now. Sorry I didn’t realise that they required different formats, hence the delay in the Kindle version. But it’s definitely coming, and I shall let you know. So watch this space!

      • Martin Rushton says:

        Hi Marianne. But what about people who do not have a Kindle? I was thinking that in terms of the online course (just advertised on the Dept’s website) prospective students would have to buy an Apple product or a Kindle in order to read the ebook. This is costly! Perhaps enrolled students could be given a PDF file that is readable by Adobe Reader or a hard-copy?

      • Marianne says:

        It is true that students would have to be able to read an e-book in order to do the course. But anyone who has a computer can get the e-book either from iBooks or from Amazon, and no-one can do an online course without a computer.

      • Nick says:

        You can download a free Kindle reader app from Amazon, so anyone with a laptop can read the book without having to buy a Kindle device.

      • Marianne says:

        This is true. Thank you Nick!

  5. Martin Rushton says:

    Is the file format of the ebook from Apple or Amazon in a format that is readable on a PC? A couple of years ago, I tried to read an ebook written for Kindle but my PC did not recognise the format.

  6. Dorothy says:

    There is a very useful piece of software called Calibre which will convert e-books into other formats. I often buy Kindle versions and convert them to epubs for my Kobo e-reader.

  7. Antara Sinha says:

    How can I buy your book from India ?! Why am I not getting it in ?! Please help me Ma’am

    • Marianne says:

      Hi Antara, Is it not appearing? Can you get iBooks? I will contact Chris Wood (who put the book online) and ask him. I am sorry you are having this trouble.

  8. Ejaz Khan says:

    Neither the Kindle nor the iBooks let download in Pakistan where I am based. That disables me from taking the online course.

  9. Dear Marianne,
    As Bilkent University Library, our academic staff want to use this book urgently. Do you have PDF version of the this book?

    Best regards,
    Acquisitions Department
    Bilkent University Library
    06800 Bilkent/Ankara
    Tel: +90 312 2901417

  10. 彭唯 says:

    Hi Marianne,I‘m Cathy, the girl who tweeted you on twitter. I tried to bought the e-book on the Amazon UK, but it didn’t work. I guess it maybe the copyright restriction, I cant buy it.Need your help.

  11. Shaynne says:

    Hello Marian I’ve done watching it is extraordinary. Hope your doing well. This is great

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