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Critical Thinking Skills For Dummies

Book Description

Turbocharge your reasoning with Critical Thinking

Just what are the ingredients of a great argument? What is the secret to communicating your ideas clearly and persuasively? And how do you see through sloppy thinking and flim-flam? If you've ever asked any of these questions, then this book is for you!

These days, strong critical thinking skills provide a vital foundation for academic success, and Critical Thinking Skills For Dummies offers a clear and unintimidating introduction to what can otherwise be a pretty complex topic. Inside, you'll get hands-on, lively, and fun exercises that you can put to work today to improve your arguments and pin down key issues.

With this accessible and friendly guide, you'll get plain-English instruction on how to identify other people's assumptions, methodology, and conclusions, evaluate evidence, and interpret texts effectively. You'll also find tips and guidance on reading between the lines, assessing validity - and even advice on when not to apply logic too rigidly!

Critical Thinking Skills for Dummies:

  • Provides tools and strategies from a range of disciplines great for developing your reflective thinking skills

  • Offers expert guidance on sound reasoning and textual analysis

  • Shows precisely how to use concept mapping and brainstorming to generate insights

  • Demonstrates how critical thinking skills is a proven path to success as a student

  • Whether you're undertaking reviews, planning research projects or just keen to give your brain a workout, Critical Thinking Skills For Dummies equips you with everything you need to succeed.

    Table of Contents

      1. Cover
      2. Introduction
        1. About This Book
        2. Foolish Assumptions
        3. Icons Used in This Book
        4. Beyond the Book
        5. Where to Go from Here
      3. Part I: Getting Started with Critical Thinking Skills
        1. Chapter 1: Entering the Exciting World of Critical Thinking
          1. Opening the Doors to the Arguments Clinic
          2. Developing Critical Thinking Skills: Reading between the Lines
          3. Understanding What Critical Thinking Isn't
        2. Chapter 2: Peering into the Mind: How People Think
          1. Thinking Logically or Instinctively: Evolution and Consciousness
          2. Watching How the Brain Thinks
          3. Getting Inside Scientists’ Heads
          4. Answers to Chapter 2’s Exercises
        3. Chapter 3: Planting Ideas in Your Head: The Sociology of Thinking
          1. Asking Whether You're Thinking What You Think You're Thinking
          2. Thinking and Indoctrination: Propaganda
          3. Appreciating the Difficulties of Staying Impartial
          4. Appealing to Feelings: The Psychology of Argument
          5. Manipulating Minds and Persuading People
          6. Answers to Chapter 3’s Exercise
        4. Chapter 4: Assessing Your Thinking Skills
          1. Discovering Your Personal Thinking Habits
          2. Busting Myths about Thinking
          3. Exploring Different Types of Intelligence: Emotions and Creativity
          4. Answers to Chapter 4’s Exercises
      4. Part II: Developing Your Critical Thinking Skills
        1. Chapter 5: Critical Thinking Is Like . . . Solving Puzzles: Reasoning by Analogy
          1. Investigating Inventiveness and Imagination
          2. Confused Comparisons and Muddled Metaphors
          3. Becoming a Thought Experimenter
          4. Answers To Chapter 5’s Exercise
        2. Chapter 6: Thinking in Circles: The Power of Recursion
          1. Thinking Like a Computer Programmer
          2. Combining the Thinking Spheres
          3. Sort, Select, Amplify, Generate: Using Design Skills to See New Solutions
          4. Ordering Yourself a Nice, Fresh Argument! (Exercise)
          5. Answers To Chapter 6’s Exercises
        3. Chapter 7: Drawing on Graphical (and Other) Tools for Thinking
          1. Discovering Graphical Tools: Mind Mapping and Making Concept Charts
          2. Putting Graphical Tools To Use
          3. Considering Other Thinking Tools
          4. Answers to Chapter 7’s Exercises
        4. Chapter 8: Constructing Knowledge: Information Hierarchies
          1. Building the Knowledge Pyramid with Data and Information Blocks
          2. Turning the Knowledge Hierarchy Upside Down
          3. Maintaining Motivation: Knowledge, Skills and Mindsets
          4. Answers to Chapter 8’s Exercises
      5. Part III: Applying Critical Thinking in Practice
        1. Chapter 9: Getting to the Heart of the (Reading) Matter
          1. Appreciating Critical Reading as a Practical Skill
          2. Reading between the Lines
          3. Playing Detective: Examining the Evidence
          4. Filtering out Irrelevant Material
          5. Answers to Chapter 10’s Exercises
        2. Chapter 10: Cultivating Your Critical Writing Skills
          1. Structuring Your Thoughts on the Page
          2. Choosing the Appropriate Style of Writing
          3. Getting Down to the Specifics of Critical Writing
          4. Answers to Chapter 10’s Exercise
        3. Chapter 11: Speaking and Listening Critically: Effective Learning
          1. Getting the Most from Formal Talks
          2. Participating in Seminars and Small Groups
          3. Noting a Few Notes
          4. Democratising the Learning Environment
          5. Answers to This Chapter
      6. Part IV: Reason and Argument
        1. Chapter 12: Unlocking the Logic of Real Arguments
          1. Introducing Real-Life Arguments
          2. Delving Deeper into Real Arguments
        2. Chapter 13: Behaving Like a Rational Animal
          1. Setting out Laws for Thinking Logically
          2. Seeing How People Use Logic
          3. Putting Steel in Your Arguments with Logic
          4. Answers to Chapter 13’s Exercises
        3. Chapter 14: Using Words to Persuade: The Art of Rhetoric
          1. Introducing Rhetoric: When an Argument Isn't an Argument
          2. Winning When You're Right
          3. Debating Successfully When You're Wrong
          4. Discerning a Message
          5. Answers to Chapter 14’s Exercise
        4. Chapter 15: Presenting Evidence and Justifying Opinions
          1. Challenging Received Wisdom about the World
          2. Digging into Scientific Thinking
          3. Counting on the Fact that People Don't Understand Numbers: Statistical Thinking
          4. Answers to Chapter 15’s Exercise
      7. Part V: The Part of Tens
        1. Chapter 16: Ten Logical Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them
          1. Claiming to Follow Logically: Non Sequiturs and Genetic Fallacies
          2. Making Assumptions: Begging the Question
          3. Restricting the Options to Two: ‘Black and White’ Thinking
          4. Being Unclear: Equivocation and Ambiguity
          5. Mistaking a Connection for a Cause: Correlation Confusion
          6. Resorting to Double Standards: Special Pleading
          7. Thinking Wishfully
          8. Detecting the Whiff of Red Herrings
          9. Attacking a Point that Doesn't Exist: Straw-Man Arguments
          10. Redefining Words: Playing at Humpty Dumpty
        2. Chapter 17: Ten Arguments that Changed the World
          1. Suggesting That Only a Small Elite Is Clever Enough To Be In Charge
          2. Crossing the Line: An Argument for Breaking the Law
          3. Staying on the Right Side of the Law: An Argument for Always Obeying the Law
          4. Arguing that Human Misery is Due to a Greedy Elite Exploiting Everyone Else
          5. Proving That, ‘Logically’, God Exists
          6. Proving That, ‘in Practice’, God Doesn't Exist
          7. Defending Human Rights
          8. Making Everything Relative
          9. Getting All Relative with Einstein
          10. Posing Paradoxes to Prove Your Point
      8. About the Author
      9. Cheat Sheet
      10. Advertisement Page
      11. Connect with Dummies
      12. End User License Agreement