Logical Reasoning by Bradley H. Dowden
The goal of this book is to improve your logical reasoning skills. Your logical-reasoning 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 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.
You are not reasoning logically if, when you want a gorilla suit for a Halloween party, the first thing you do is search for the word “Gorilla” in the Yellow Pages of the telephone book, and the problem here is not that you used a telephone book instead of the Internet.
High-quality reasoning is called logical reasoning or critical thinking. Logical reasoning skills can be learned and improved. It is not a case of “Either you’re naturally good at it or you’re not.” Rather, every student is capable of reasoning well, and everyone is capable of improvement. The opposite of logical reasoning is uncritical thinking, examples of which are fuzzy thinking, believing what somebody says simply because they raise their voice, and narrowly thinking about a problem without bringing in the most relevant information.
This book is designed to engage students’ interest and promote their writing abilities while teaching them to think critically and creatively. The author takes an activist stance on critical thinking, asking students to create and revise arguments rather than simply recognizing and criticizing them. His book emphasizes inductive reasoning and the analysis of individual claims, in the beginning, leaving deductive arguments for consideration later in the course.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 How to Reason Logically
Chapter 2 Claims, Issues, and Arguments
Chapter 3 Writing with the Appropriate Precision
Chapter 4 How to Evaluate Information and Judge Credibility
Chapter 5 Obstacles to Better Communication
Chapter 6 Writing to Convince Others
Chapter 7 Defending Against Deception
Chapter 8 Detecting Fallacies
Chapter 9 Consistency and Inconsistency
Chapter 10 Deductive Reasoning
Chapter 11 Logical Form and Sentential Logic
Chapter 12 Aristotelian Logic and Venn-Euler Diagrams
Chapter 13 Inductive Reasoning
Chapter 14 Reasoning about Causes and Their Effects
Chapter 15 Scientific Reasoning
About the Authors
Bradley H. Dowden is an American philosopher and professor of philosophy at the California State University, Sacramento.