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