Learning Object

Logical reasoning

The book is designed to improve your critical thinking skills. The skills are a complex weave of abilities that help you get someone's point, generate reasons for your own point, evaluate the reasons given by others, decide what to do or what not to do, decide what information to accept or reject, explain a complicated idea, apply conscious quality control as you think, and resist propaganda. Your most important critical thinking skill is your skill at making judgments─not snap judgments that occur in the blink of an eye, but those that require careful reasoning. 
 More specific topics are how to recognize claims, issues, arguments, and explanations, including how to distinguish them from each other and how to evaluate them. Special attention is given to evaluating information, judging the credibility of sources of information, and writing more clearly and with the appropriate precision for the situation. 
 The book teaches how to distinguish deductive arguments from inductive arguments, and how to recognize and display their logical forms. There is an introduction to Venn diagrams and Sentential Logic. The book also focuses on how to detect the major fallacies of reasoning and how not to be overly critical of other peoples' reasoning. Special attention is given to reasoning about what causes what, and more generally to scientific reasoning and pseudo-scientific reasoning. 
 After every few paragraphs, there are questions for the reader with answers and explanations. The end of each chapter contains a summary, a glossary, and many exercises or examination questions, a quarter of which contain answers and explanations.