- Relevance to everyday reasoning situations and political discourse in a democratic society
- Instructors may learn something (given the recent flourishing of argumentation scholarship) which may contribute to their own scholarship
- Instructors may have to master new material (given the recent flourishing of argumentation scholarship)
- Other skills may be important for everyday reasoning, e.g. interpreting statistics and tables for citizenship, or formal logic for philosophy majors. Other forms of critical thinking include problem-solving and specific disciplinary methodologies.
- Some texts still neglect presumptive argumentation schemes (e.g., analogical reasoning and causal reasoning) and fall back on the inadequate categories of inductive and deductive inference.
- If you want to teach fallacies, consider a textbook that focuses on them. I advise against the common strategy of a separate few days or weeks covered in separate chapters; either integrate fallacies or don’t teach them at all. To include fallacies in a larger context, look for a text that treats fallacies alongside inference/argumentation schemes, e.g. Epstein; Boss; Woods, Irvine and Walton.
Ralph H. Johnson and J. Anthony Blair. Logical Self-defense; US edition again in print from IDEA. A fallacies-based approach that also provides one of the best accounts of argument diagramming.
PICK OF THE CURRENT OFFERINGS:
- Trudy Govier. A Practical Study of Argument (Wadsworth, many editions). Also a classic.
- Frans van Eemeren, Rob Grootendorst, and Francisca Snoeck Henkemans. Argumentation: Analysis, Evaluation, Presentation. Routledge, 2002. A different type of classic, here introducing the elegant and powerful pragma-dialectic system for argument analysis, evaluation, and — yes — presentation. However, critical thinking education is not a specific goal of this text.
- Christopher W. Tindale. Fallacies and Argument Appraisal (Cambridge 2007).
- John Woods, Andrew Irvine and Douglas Walton. Argument: Critical Thinking, Logic and the Fallacies, 2nd Revised Edition (Prentice-Hall 2004).