- Some of the forms of analysis will be familiar to the instructor educated in philosophy
- May cumulate to a larger purpose than the exercises covered in single chapters
- May include chapters that help address the instructor’s pedagogical purposes or a group of students’ particular needs, e.g. scientific or legal reasoning, media literacy.
- Some of the forms of analysis will not be familiar to the instructor
- May not have much coherence, and what coherence there is may require more time than a course/module offers
- Breadth often (especially regarding fallacies) extends beyond an author’s expertise, leaving serious weak spots that may be hard for an instructor to identify before actually using it, making specialized texts a better choice
- Generally more expensive for students
- Is the set of skills unified or cumulative? Specific goals provided by the text will help you design your assignments, and give your course/module coherence. Otherwise, an instructor must have a strong vision to guide the course /module, design overarching objectives, and select the component means
- Fallacies tend to work best taught in conjunction with the positive structures of reasoning from which they deviate, unless taught separately using the “critical questions” model which takes some time.
- Irving M. Copi, Carl Cohen and Kenneth McMahon, Introduction to Logic (Pearson, various editions). Remains dominated by formal logic, but offers complementary material on probability and science. I mine it for the real examples taken from history and literature.
- Sharon Schwarze and Harvey Lape. Thinking Socratically (Pearson, various editions). Outstanding sections on “why be a critical thinker,” i.e., against relativism, and on language. Unfortunately, much of the rest of the book is weak.
PICK OF THE CURRENT OFFERINGS:
- Sharon Bailin and Mark Battersby. Reason in the Balance: And Inquiry Approach to Critical Thinking. (Hackett, 2016). Bailin and Battersby have updated their already state-of-the art textbook and moving it to Hackett provides a reasonable price for students. The new edition provides deep cover of cognitive biases in addition to their multidisciplinary application of argument skills.
- Judith Boss. Think! (McGraw-Hill, 2009). Boss has pedagogical expertise that shines through and the book is extremely attractive, although Boss is not a scholar in the field. I haven’t taught from it, but it’s top on my list right now for a general introductory course.
- Leo Groarke and Christopher W. Tindale. Good Reasoning Matters (Oxford University Press, many editions). Scholars in the field focus on argumentation but extend the treatment to many different contexts, including visual argumentation.