Fieldguide to textbooks

A resource for Critical Thinking ² Critical thinking textbooks offer a range of different ways to analyze reasoning, from classical logical to contemporary rhetorical perspectives, and include specialized approaches.  Three general categories commonly can be found in the discipline of philosophy:

  • Comprehensive texts include many different approaches to critical thinking, generally include argumentation as well forms of reasoning and interpretation, e.g. distinguishing observation from inference, numeracy, etc.
  • Argumentation texts introduce students to premise-conclusion structure, perhaps more complex arguments, fallacies, and types of inference strength.  Historically promoted as pedagogy by the informal logic movement that emerged in the 1980s.
  • Formal logic, e.g. Aristotelian or propositional, is a traditional approach to modelling good reasoning especially popular in the early twentieth century.

Beyond that, specialized textbooks may provide:

  • Innovative approaches to analyzing reasoning that attend to the larger epistemological and political contexts.
  • Deeper treatments of specific techniques in argumentation and informal or formal logic; or analysis pointed toward particular fields, such as law or science. (Such elements sometimes appear in comprehensive texts too.)

A larger database, less evaluative and more descriptive than the rest of this guide, can be found here.  Additional review copies for the database can be sent to me here, an explanation of what textbooks I include is here, and an account of the database structure is here. black and white image of critical thinking textbooks packed tightly on a shelf


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